Baltimore police officials credited one of their sharpshooters with saving the lives of two children who were held hostage until the marksman shot their captor early yesterday -- just as he tried to place a gun in the mouth of a 2-year-old girl.
The sharpshooter "saved that baby's life," said police spokesman Sam Ringgold. "He had a split second where he had a chance to save the child's life, and he acted. The man could be heard saying to the child, 'Open your mouth.' "
The four-hour standoff at the Edmondale Apartments near Edmondson Village ended about 1:30 a.m., shortly after the marksman -- whom police refused to identify -- shot Keith Princeton Brown, 28, in the neck from about 100 feet away.
Police said Mr. Brown, angry at live-in girlfriend Andrea Martin, 23, took her and the children -- Sade Juanita Katrina Jones, 2, and Kenyon Princeton Brown, 4 -- hostage.
Sade, Ms. Martin's daughter, was shot twice, once in the face and once in the side, police said. She was listed in critical but stable condition yesterday at University Hospital.
Kenyon, the couple's son, was not harmed, police said. Ms. Martin escaped shortly before midnight.
Mr. Brown was listed in serious but stable condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center with bullet wounds to the neck and shoulder.
When released from the hospital, he will be charged with attempted murder, two counts of child abuse, two counts of assault by shooting at police, common assault and three counts of using a handgun in commission of a felony, police said.
His mother, Jessie I. Brown, said last night that her son had become angry after finding letters addressed to his girlfriend from a man with whom she had previously had a romantic relationship.
"I wish the police would have let me talk to my son. Maybe if I was able to talk to him, he and Sade wouldn't be lying in Shock Trauma tonight," she said.
Several times during the night, Mr. Brown was seen holding Sade in one arm and a gun in the other, yelling incoherently out the window, a police report said.
The sharpshooters were given "the green light" to fire at Mr. Brown after a psychologist for the state Department of Correction told negotiators that "the situation was not going to end peacefully," Mr. Ringgold said.