BALTIMORE — The death of a suspect who allegedly tried to rob a Canton liquor store but was fatally shot by the store’s owner has been ruled a justifiable homicide.
The Jan. 12 shooting in the 2300 of Fleet Street, a block away from the southwest corner of Patterson Park, spilled out of the House of Spirits liquor store into a freshly falling snow at about 7:30 p.m. that Saturday evening, Baltimore Police said. The shooting left bullet holes in parked cars and a nearby building as the serene winter landscape belied the open shootout disrupting the quiet evening.
Two armed men entered the store and announced a robbery. The a member of the family who owns the store, a licensed and armed bail agent, fought back, drawing his own weapon and exchanging shots with the robbers. The suspects retreated out the door as they returned fire, drawing the melee into the open. One robbery suspect got as far away as Eastern Avenue before collapsing and dying from his wounds.
The shooting rocked the neighborhood as residents complained of a general uptick in crime. The owner who fired the fatal shot was conflicted by the event, feeling he had to protect his business, his employee, and himself, but devastated by the taking of a life.
The death was ruled a homicide, but after reviewing the facts, the State’s Attorney’s Office determined the incident was deemed a justifiable shooting in self-defense.
Police also identified another recent homicide victim. A 32-year-old man who was found shot dead in an alley in Poppleton was identified as Williams James, of Stevens Forest Road in Columbia.