Police kill man amid barricade standoff

He was holding granddaughter at knifepoint, officers say

March 15, 2009|BY A BALTIMORE SUN REPORTER

A man was shot by Baltimore police yesterday morning in the 500 block of Halfmile Court near the Seton Hill section of downtown Baltimore, police say.

Police received a call about 3:45 a.m. with reports that a man was holding his 4-year-old granddaughter at knifepoint and had barricaded himself and the child in the home, said Troy Harris, a police spokesman.

The police SWAT team and hostage negotiators were called to the scene, he said, and negotiated with the man, identified as Samuel Cosby, 48, for more than an hour and a half. After that time, police decided that "he was a viable threat to himself and the child," according to Harris, and entered the home. They found the two on the third floor of the home, where Samuel was holding his granddaughter and a machete.

Negotiations continued, Harris said, as Samuel threatened police, the child and himself.

"At that point, police tried to gain control of the machete in his hand," Harris said, "and while doing so, one of the officers pulled out his service weapon and fired multiple shots at the suspect, striking him multiple times." The incident happened about 7 a.m., and Cosby was declared dead at the scene. The child was uninjured, while one police officer sustained minor cuts to his hand.

The policeman involved in the incident was identified as Garfield O'Toole, a member of the SWAT team and a 13-year veteran of the Police Department, said Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III.

"This is truly a heroic act on the part of this officer and his colleagues," he said. "He saved the life of this little girl."

Guglielmi said that police are still not naming officers involved in shootings but that the commissioner decided to use his discretion in naming O'Toole.

"The policy is still intact," Guglielmi said, but is under review.

Cosby was released from prison in 2005, said Gugliemi.

The man had been convicted for the attempted murder of his wife, he said.

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