Police shoot hostage-taker

February 16, 1994|By David Michael Ettlin and Richard Irwin | David Michael Ettlin and Richard Irwin,Sun Staff Writers

An enraged gunman holding his girlfriend and two young children hostage in a West Baltimore apartment was shot and wounded early today by a city police marksman.

The man had fired several shots and thrown furniture from windows of the apartment, and was seen holding a gun to the head of a child when police fired at him about 1:30 a.m.

About 20 minutes later, the children were carried seemingly unhurt from the building to an ambulance which was kept out of the line of fire several blocks away. The older child, a boy of 6, was wearing a policeman's hat as an officer carried him. His sister, a 2-year-old, was behind him, wrapped in a white blanket and carried by a Fire Department paramedic.

Authorities said the standoff began about 9:20 p.m. at the Edmondale Apartments in the 1200 block of Woodington Road, after the man fired shots from a window.

Police blocked traffic, took up strategic positions in and around the two-story building and began evacuating neighboring apartments as the standoff continued for hours. Several evacuated neighbors sat in police cars, waiting for the tense situation to be resolved.

Negotiations were unsuccessful. The man talked to negotiators by telephone several times, ending conversations by hanging up and then not answering when the police would ring the apartment again.

Police said the man at one point fired the gun while holding a child out of the window.

The gunman was identified by his mother as 28-year-old Keith Brown, and the girlfriend as Andrea Martin, 23.

The mother, who would not give her own name, said she and her daughter and other members of the family had been threatened by the man in the past over his domestic problems, and he had "held us hostage" in their Randallstown area home in the past.

Last night's argument, she said, was triggered by Mr. Brown's discovery of letters his girlfriend had been writing to the jailed father of one of the children. The gun that was used was a weapon the girlfriend had bought for her own protection in the neighborhood, the mother said.

One of the last evacuees was Patricia Brown, who lives in the apartment below the second-floor unit where the hostages were held. She said she heard shots and yelling upstairs as the situation escalated.

As the man continued to show his rage, throwing furniture out of a window and shouting, police issued orders to open fire: "If he comes to the window with a gun in hand, the green light is lit."

Moments later, police said they could see him through a window holding a gun to the head of a child, and the unidentified marksman fired.

Police said the man called out that he had been shot and asked to go to a hospital.

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