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Off-duty officer shoots gunman robbing store

Posted at 6:23 PM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-18 06:11:13-04

A camera across the street from The Green Tree Liquor and Carryout Store captures what happened before the shooting Friday. Just before 6PM, you can see the off-duty police detective head inside.  Not far behind is Robert Howard.

When he gets into the store, the officer is already at the counter ordering

44-year-old Howard says he's going to rob the plain-clothed officer, so he grabs his service weapon and shoots.

Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis is calling him a hero.

"I spoke to him yesterday, told him I was proud of him,” said Davis.  “He acted courageously, he acted within the limits of his training, and he did the absolute right thing."

He was taken to the hospital, but the would-be-robber didn't make it.  Investigators say the gun he had turned out to be a fake.

"At the time, obviously, it was perceived, and rightfully so, it was perceived as a firearm by our off-duty detective," Davis said.

We're told the officer is a 16-year veteran of the force, and he's assigned to a Federal task force.        

Davis says shooting Howard was the right thing to do.

"Made a decision to follow our detective into a convenience store, he preyed upon our detective, and then he made a decision to pull that gun out and tell our detective that he was gonna rob him, that's unacceptable."

Investigators have not identified the off-duty detective.  We're told he is on administrative duty while the shooting is investigated.

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