NewsRegionAnne Arundel County


Police Chief makes emotional plea after two detectives shot, suspect arrested

Posted at 4:58 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-07 17:01:18-05

MILLERSVILLE, Md. (WMAR) — Following a tireless manhunt for a gunman accused of killing a man and shooting two detectives, Anne Arundel County's Police Chief made several emotional pleas in hopes of preventing another similar incident in the future.

"It's been a tough six or seven-years to be a cop in the United States of America, I'm so supremely proud of the police department I'm privileged to lead" said Chief Timothy Altomare. "The last 36-hours was a case study in how it's supposed to go. Cops are the good guys, we will do right and when we have somebody do wrong, we will get rid of them, we don't need to be forced to do it," said Altomare.

County Executive Steuart Pittman echoed the chief's remarks.

"I believe I speak for everyone in Anne Arundel County when I say don't mess with our cops. When you attack our police officers, you're attacking the heart of our communities, the people who serve us, the people who protect us," said Pittman.

RELATED: Bail denied for suspect accused of killing man, shooting two detectives in Anne Arundel County

Joseph Robert Mitchell Willis, 22, allegedly shot detectives Scott Ballard and Ian Preece, after they tried pulling him over in a car belonging to 44-year-old Christopher Lawrence Jones. Willis was wanted as a person of interest in Jones's murder.

After shooting the detectives, Willis retreated to a nearby home, forcing police to go through an exhaustive overnight door to door search.

The Chief complimented his officers for treating everyone fairly and professionally during a life threatening situation, that required area schools to close and an entire community to essentially be placed on lock down.

"There was a lot of feedback out there of what would have happened if this was someone else, what would have happened if somebody looked different? My cops don't care what we look liked, they're there to keep people safe and they're going to do the same professional job for everyone," said Altomare.

READ MORE: Gunman accused of killing man, shooting Anne Arundel detectives arrested

During his news conference, Altomare also reached out to lawmakers.

"I have a message for our lawmakers. You spent a lot of time the last four-years trying to protect people from cops. Help the cops protect people from bad guys please, we need help," said Altomare.

He also wanted to thank the community for their help and understanding during such a difficult time.

"I'm telling you from the bottom of my heart, when cops are in these situations, they're trying to stay alive. Every encounter is a potential dead cop. The community did what it needed to do which was to work with us," Altomare said.

The Chief closed out his press conference by explaining in so many words that police don't expect thank you's but they're appreciated.

"When you see a cop there's nothing wrong with thanking them for their service; because at the end of the day, no matter who you are, where you come from, how much money you make, the tone of your skin, the clothes you wear, who you pray to... we're there to keep you safe, and man does Anne Arundel County work hard to do that," said Altomare.