Baltimore clinic shooting: Two 2 dead, officer and woman hurt (news).
Two people were killed and two others — including a Baltimore police sergeant — were injured Monday morning when an armed man entered a drug treatment center on Maryland Avenue in Charles North demanding access to methadone, police said.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Sgt. Billy Shiflett was shot while responding to a report of an active shooter at the Man Alive treatment center in the 2100 block of Maryland Ave. An unnamed suspect who entered the clinic for methadone treatment and then fired at the officer has died, Harrison said.
A third man found inside the building was shot and later pronounced dead at the hospital. A woman who worked at the clinic was also taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Harrison said the incident is under internal investigation because it was a police-involved shooting. Officers have recovered a firearm from the scene, he said.
Shiflett, a 25-year veteran of the department who spent time in the aviation unit, was taken to Shock Trauma and went immediately into surgery for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He has since come out of surgery and is in serious but stable condition, Harrison said.
Harrison also commended police Officer Christopher Miller who he said was responsible for pulling Shiflett to safety outside of the building. Miller, 32, who is assigned to the Northern District and joined the department in 2016, the department said.
“This was a dangerous situation that could have been far worse,” Harrison said. “[The officers] showed extreme bravery.”
Gov. Larry Hogan called the shooting a “senseless act of violence.”
“Our hearts are with the victims’ loved ones, and we are grateful for the prompt response by law enforcement,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
Harrison said he and members of the consent decree monitoring team have reviewed the body worn camera footage from the incident. He said the department is following its recent policy and will have up to a week to determine whether he will release it publicly.
Several hours after the shooting, a small crowd gathered outside the Man Alive building, some of whom said they were trying to get into the building to receive their medication. Patients were redirected to the nearby REACH Clinic for treatment.
Behind the clinic, a group of people cried and embraced one another. Several were on the phone recounting what happened inside.
One patient, George Dowler, said he was waiting for his daily methadone treatment when he heard a gunshot inside his counselor’s office.
Another patient emerged from the office holding the employee at gunpoint, said Dowler, 61, of Baltimore County, and shouted at her, demanding to be let into an area behind the counter, where the medication is kept.
“Open that [expletive] door or I’m going to shoot you,” Dowler recalled the man saying.
“She let him in, and then I screamed, ‘Let her [expletive] go!’” he continued. “He did let her go, and she comes running back toward me, and I said ‘Go to your office. Go to your office.’”
Dowler’s hands trembled as he recounted the events near the crime scene tape. He said the gunman was just 5 feet away from him inside the clinic.
“I haven’t even been medicated yet,” Dowler said. “Who knows how many hours it’s going to be before I’m medicated.”
Neil Kavanaugh, 51, said he saw several people brought out of the center on stretchers, including an officer who appeared alert and was talking. Another person appeared to be receiving CPR treatment, he said.
Kavanaugh has been a patient at the clinic for more than two years and said he never expected anything like this to happen — especially because the clinic has armed security.
“You come here to get your medication and that’s it,” he said. “It’s just crazy.”
You come here to get your medication and that’s it. It’s just crazy.
Pippy Scott was inside her counselor’s office when she saw a man walk by with a silver gun. Then she heard banging.
Scott, 65, watched through the office window as the man banged on the door of an office, yelling for methadone. He then held a gun to the head of an employee, Scott said.
That’s when Scott, who’s been a patient at the clinic for 15 years, barricaded herself in the corner of the office and curled up into the fetal position. The counselor Scott was talking with tried to intervene and de-escalate the situation.
“He was saying ‘come on man let’s talk about it,’” Scott said about her counselor.
Finally, Scott heard a nurse yell for everyone to get out of the clinic. So she ran outside, fearing for her life, Scott said.
A representative from Man Alive could not be reached for comment Monday. In a recorded messaging system, the organization billed itself as one of the longest-running medical treatment facilities in the city.
Anette Sutton, a patient at a nearby methadone clinic, said she worries the shooting will further stigmatize all methadone patients as addicts looking for a fix.