Just as the snow was beginning to pile up last night, police say three men in Woodlawn were carrying on a spree of armed robberies. For one of the suspects, a run-in with officers turned deadly.
Just before midnight, two Baltimore County police officers responded to a Royal Farms on Windsor Mill Road off Gwynn Oak Drive for a reported armed robbery. One determined after going inside that the store had indeed been robbed. Investigating further, police spotted one suspect running and climbing into a car with two other men inside roughly a block away on Walnut Street.
When the officers approached the car, it sped towards them, police said. The pair of officers then opened fire “in fear of their lives,” according to a release, striking all three men inside and fatally wounding one of them.
Police identified him this afternoon as 20-year-old Rashad Daquan Opher. The two others remain hospitalized under police watch with armed robbery charges pending. Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said they will release the men’s names once they file charges.
Baltimore County’s homicide unit is investigating, and the State’s Attorney’s Office will review the case afterward. Both officers are now on administrative leave, per department policy.
This incident was part of a spree committed by the gang of three, according to authorities. Since the beginning of the year, the police department’s robbery unit has investigated a “significant number” of incidents like last night’s involving similarly described suspects.
Responding to an email asking for additional details on the number of related incidents, Armacost said “the info about the robberies is still part of an active investigation,” but that police will provide other information “as the investigation progresses.”
Last weekend, the trio robbed at least five liquor and convenience stores at gunpoint around the Woodlawn and Wilkens (Catonsville) precincts, police said. Just yesterday, they suspects began robbing stores in the area starting at 4 p.m., including a Woodlawn hotel where a clerk was struck with a handgun, according to police.
Police plan to use body-camera footage from the officers as part of their investigation, but are not releasing the footage at this time.
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