Police shoot man at behavioral health clinic in University of Md. Medical System building

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BPD chief spokesman T.J. Smith (left) and UMMS spokeswoman Karen Lancaster brief media outside the scene of the shooting. Screenshot from Periscope/BPD.

Baltimore police officers shot a man at a behavioral health clinic on the University of Maryland Medical System campus Thursday afternoon after police say he was threatening clinic staff, bystanders and officers with a knife.

Police chief spokesman T.J. Smith said officers responded for a call at 701 W. Pratt Street of an individual armed with a knife at around 1:25 p.m. Officers arrived at the facility on the fifth floor and found the man still armed and “acting in an erratic way” after he “had thrown several chairs” around a waiting room area. Others in the waiting room had been asking him to drop the knife, but he had refused, Smith said.

He continued to refuse the same request from officers on-scene, Smith said. After several refusals, he then “charged officers with the chair and the knife.”

Officers opened fire, hitting the man in the upper body and leg. An officer also deployed a Taser “around the same time that the shots were fired,” Smith said. Four officers were on the scene when the shooting happened.

The 27-year-old suspect is now in critical condition at University of Maryland Shock Trauma.

Smith said police did not utilize a crisis intervention team. He wasn’t sure how long the standoff lasted. “It didn’t appear to be an extended negotiation by any means,” he said, adding, “there were a number of opportunities, a number of moments, where officers were repeatedly asking him to put down the knife.”

University of Maryland Medical System spokeswoman Lisa Clough confirmed before the press conference that “an incident” unfolded at 701 W. Pratt Street, which houses the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Walter P. Carter Clinics, a pair of community mental health facilities.

The Sun’s Colin Campbell spoke with a witness who saw university and city police respond to the building, and saw officers “carry someone out on a gurney” who was “very bloody and in a neck brace.”

UMMS spokeswoman Karen Lancaster said on the scene that all staffers in the behavioral health clinic are safe, and “followed appropriate protocol.” She said she could not provide details about what led up to the man threatening others.

Smith said the Special Investigations Response Team is handling the investigation. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice and the consent decree monitoring team also responded to the scene.

Police will release more information about the incident at a later time, Smith said.

This post has been updated.

Ethan McLeod
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