Black Friday has already turned sour in Waverly. Two police officers shot a man several times this morning in a busy area of the neighborhood after they say he threatened bystanders and officers with a pair of knives.
The incident unfolded around 9:30 a.m. in the 3300 block of Greenmount Avenue. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis divulged this timeline at a media briefing:
911 dispatchers got a call about a man threatening shoppers and people waiting at a bus stop with knives. The police department then sent three officers to the scene. Those officers told the man to drop the two knives, but he didn’t comply, so they tased him. Unfortunately, that didn’t work, so two of the three officers shot the man several times.
The suspect is now in critical condition at a local hospital. Homicide detectives responded to the area, so there’s a chance his wounds may have been fatal. A video posted by WBAL’s David Collins showed medics attempting to resuscitate the man.
City police involved shooting Greenmount & 33rd Street pic.twitter.com/eMcz0D9SnI
— David Collins (@dcollinsWBAL) November 25, 2016
The incident was particularly notable because it marked the second case of a Baltimore police officer shooting a suspect just this week. Around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, an officer later identified as Jeffrey Melo shot 29-year-old Richard Gibbs during a traffic stop in West Baltimore because they say he was holding a gun.
It was the first shooting involving an officer since July, according to The Sun’s Justin Fenton.
This would be the second shooting by police in 4 days, after none before then since July.
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) November 25, 2016
When asked about the two officer-involved shootings happening in the same week, Commissioner Davis said the officer in the other case was doing his job. “That’s a threat not only to that police officer but to that whole community,” he said. As for the newest incident, he said he was “so proud of these officers, the way they responded to the scene and attempted to de-escalate…and unfortunately that didn’t work.”
It remains pretty unclear why the man was waving two knives around and threatening people, though some reports have indicated he may have been intoxicated. As the commissioner put it, “I think it’s safe to say it was unstable, it was threatening, it was menacing, and thank God that none of our citizens got hurt out here today.”
Despite the BPD’s account of the shooting, bystanders at the media briefing were none too happy about another person being shot in an incident that wasn’t instead de-escalated. Some were protesting and shouting “F*** the police,” while others caused a stir while Davis was speaking to media at the scene.
At least one officer was recording the scene on a body cam. Davis said they will eventually review that footage and share it with the public.