BALTIMORE — Off duty Baltimore City Schools officer Harvey Battle and a retired corrections officer were among the group on a corner in the Barclay neighborhood Saturday night when police say 22-year-old Devante Jones approached in a black mask and showing what appeared to be a handgun, tried to rob them.
According to the Baltimore City Police report, in fear for their lives, both officers pulled out their personal guns and started firing.
Jones was struck twice before running to the back of a nearby home across the street and collapsing.
According to the report, the responding officer who located Jones had his body worn camera activated and recorded the suspect saying, “They shot me as I tried to rob them.”
"We have investigated this incident,” Baltimore Police Detective Donny Moses said. “Preliminarily this looks like a case of mere self-defense and the two shooters in this case were armed and they were legally armed."
Jones would later die at the hospital.
While the loss of life is regretful, the city school police union, FOP #5 said in a statement today, “This case is proof that violent crime is out of control in the city of Baltimore.”
The statement points to recent incidents including the armed robbery of Baltimore Deputy Commissioner Danny Murphy, the savage beating of a BPD civilian employee for his car keys and the off-duty robbery and shooting of Sergeant Isaac Carrington.
Baltimore is, Sgt Clyde Boatwright said in his statement, a city in crisis.
People who work near this neighborhood find it all so disturbing.
"You know, another life cut short. It's just sad,” said area worker Laurie Harris-Daniel. “He probably lacked a few things, I don't know but it is just a very...it's unfortunate."
Perhaps even more unfortunate, the Baltimore Police Department says the gun Jones pulled on the group Saturday night turned out to be a BB gun.
Still, preliminarily -- detectives say this is most likely a case of self-defense on part of the off duty and retired officer.