Baltimore police officer in ‘grave condition’ after being shot; suspect sought

A Baltimore homicide detective is in “grave condition” after he was shot in the head on Wednesday, launching a dragnet for the “cold, callous killer.”

The unidentified police officer, an 18-year veteran of the force, was shot around 4:30 p.m. by a man who approached him while engaging in “suspicious behavior,” according to Fox 45 Baltimore. The shooting happened in a troubled area of Baltimore that is grappling with high crime rates.

The officer is on life support in the intensive care unit. Little is known about the officer, but Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said he has a wife and two children. Federal agencies were offering a $60,000 reward for information leading to the gunman’s arrest.

“We are doing everything we can to keep [the officer] stabilized and to take care of the injury to his brain,” said Dr. Thomas Scalea, chief of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Center.

Davis said the officer was “just doing his job” when he was ambushed and vowed to have the shooter captured.

Baltimore police said in a tweet that one of their officers was shot Wednesday evening.  (Kevin Richardson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

“This is a dangerous profession. This is a dangerous job. Police officers know that at any given time they could confront someone who wants to do them harm, and that’s exactly what happened tonight,” Davis said. “With this community, we’re going to identify him, we’re going to arrest him, and we’re going to ensure justice is done.”

Baltimore police department tweeted earlier Wednesday: “Please say an extra prayer for the officer and the officer’s family.”

Police cordoned off streets in the West Baltimore area and a tactical unit combed alleyways as they searched for a gunman. Numerous cruisers responded and a police helicopter buzzed overhead, illuminating streets below with a searchlight. The neighborhood where the officer was shot has a number of vacant row houses and has been the scene of numerous shootings over the years.

Wednesday’s shooting comes amid a particularly violent period in Baltimore: So far this year, the city of less than 620,000 inhabitants has seen more than 300 homicides. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh called for an end in the gun violence at a news conference, saying “enough is enough.”

“We are praying for peace in our streets. And I can say to you all again and again: Enough is enough. Crime has to come to an end in this city. This kind of violence cannot be tolerated,” she said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Baltimore field division, the FBI’s Baltimore field office and the DEA’s Baltimore district office are offering a reward of up to $60,000 for information leading to the arrest of the gunman.

Anyone with a tip can call the department at 410-396-2100 or text 443-902-4824.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.