A person was shot and killed by a Baltimore Police officer in southwest Baltimore Tuesday after police said the suspect was armed with a gun and they had to shoot him.
The incident was the first time this year a Baltimore Police officer has shot someone.
It happened at about 3 p.m. near the intersection of Frederick Avenue and South Monroe Street and is part of what police have designated as an area of focus, a police spokesman said.
As Baltimore Police chased an 18-year-old suspect, a witness said he sat watching the entire thing unfold while on break from work.
"I was in shock," he said.
Police said officers assigned to a the Operations Intelligence Division were riding in an unmarked, black police vehicle when they saw a car driving erratically. They asked for assistance from the department's aviation unit before the suspect jumped out and ran. An officer got out, chased on foot and confronted the suspect before shooting, police said.
"The suspect, at that time, was armed with a gun. The officer was in fear for his safety and fired and struck the suspect," said Chief T.J. Smith, a police spokesman.
Police recovered a gun at the scene Smith said. It was the third time the suspect had been caught with a gun in the past month, he said. Two of those led to arrests and the suspect was released on bail Monday after facing drug charges, according to Smith.
Toughening penalties for illegal guns has been a target of police commissioner Kevin Davis.
"We're working with other state agencies and the federal government to do something about these repeat offenders," Smith said.
Police said the gun the suspect was holding had not been fired. They don't yet know how many times he was shot or where, or if the gun was pointed at the officer.
The witness questioned the shooting.
"These are supposed to be trained police officers.There's other non-lethal ways to take down an assailant," he said.
Police are not naming the suspect until they've notified his family. No officers were injured.
The officer who fired the shots was wearing a body camera, police said, and will be placed on routine administrative leave while the investigation continues.