County police fatally shoot robbery suspect after foot chase in Essex

January 01, 2009|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,brent.jones@baltsun.com

Baltimore County police fatally shot a robbery suspect yesterday morning in Essex after the man led officers on a foot chase in a residential neighborhood, authorities said.

The unidentified man died after he was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, police spokesman Bill Toohey said.

Police say the incident unfolded about 8 a.m. when the man held up a Rite Aid pharmacy at 140 Back River Neck Road. Toohey said the man followed employees into the store as it was opening and demanded money. During the robbery, an employee fled and called 911, police said.

Officers arrived and chased the suspect about two blocks to the 1500 block of Williams Ave., where a confrontation between the armed man and officers occurred, Toohey said. The man was shot in a backyard of a two-story brick rowhouse.

Billy Bishop, a resident of the house, said he heard the gunfire.

Bishop said he was in an upstairs room with his family when he heard two gunshots. He said he ran over to a window and could see the man's body and the officer standing over him. Bishop said he then went outside to see what was happening.

"There was blood all over the place," he said. "They tried to give the guy CPR and took him away in an ambulance. They yelled at me to go in. I got yelled at like four times."

Tia Alexander, who lives two doors from the crime scene, said she was lying in bed when she heard a commotion and an officer yelling into a walkie-talkie. She awakened her husband, who went to the window and saw the officer shoot the victim, Alexander said. He was taken to police headquarters to give a statement.

Alexander said she heard the officer yell "shots fired" over his police radio just before the shooting.

Police did not release the identification of the officer. A weapon was recovered from the suspect, police said.

Yesterday's incident was the second police-involved shooting in that neighborhood in two years. In January 2007, police fatally shot a man off Back River Neck Road after he led them on a chase, crashed his car and shot at pursuing officers.

Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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