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Body camera footage released from methadone clinic shooting

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Posted at 1:56 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 21:11:14-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police released an edited version of the body camera footage from the sergeant who was injured in an exchange of gunfire with an armed suspect at a methadone clinic on July 15.

Police responded to the Man Alive clinic in the 2100 block of Maryland Avenue after receiving reports of an armed person inside. Sgt. Bill Shiflett was part of a tactical team that responded to the clinic. In his body-worn camera video, you see him approach the building’s door as people outside warn him of the armed man, later identified as 49-year-old Ashanti Pinkney. Shiflett determines it's an “active shooter” situation, and upon entering the building with Ofr. Christopher Miller, Shiflett steps ahead of the younger officer to take the lead in the upcoming encounter.

READ MORE: Witnesses react to shooting at methadone clinic that left two dead

As Miller and Shiflett approach the hallway where Pinkney is cornered, they immediately tell him to drop his weapon. A clinic employee taking cover in a restroom on the hall is also telling Pinkney to drop the gun and not to shoot. Shiflett’s department-issued M4 Colt 9mm rifle is seen pointing down the hall at Pinkney as the sergeant continues to demand Pinkney surrender his 357 Magnum revolver.

READ MORE: Methadone clinic shooting shocks former Man Alive Clinic board president

Pinkney then begins to raise the his weapon and fire off a shot. Shiflett and Miller return fire in a portion of the video that has been edited from public view but was shown to journalists. When the video returns, the threat of Pinkney seems to be neutralized as officers turn their attention to Shiflett, who calmly states, “I’m hit in the stomach.” Miller leans over and grabs Shiflett with both hands, dragging him further away from the scene of the exchange of gunfire.

Shiflett was taken to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he underwent surgery and remained for a few days before being released Sunday. The nurse who took cover in the restroom during the shooting was also injured. Her wounds were not life-threatening. Police believe she was struck by a piece of shrapnel from one of the rounds fired at Pinkney.

After the shooting, police investigated the rest of the building, finding David Caldwell, the clinic’s phlebotomist, shot and killed in an interior room. Police later determined Pinkney killed Caldwell before the exchange with police. Police believe five or six people were in the clinic at the time of the incident.

READ MORE: Family of murdered clinic employee: 'He was a great guy'

At the press conference Tuesday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison walked journalist through his assessment of the footage and the investigation thus far. He said Shiflett and Miller did a good job trying to de-escalate the situation before having to resort to lethal force.

“I think [this] was text book active shooter response,” Harrison said.