BALTIMORE – A Baltimore police officer is in critical condition after being ambushed and shot while sitting in a patrol vehicle early Thursday, authorities said.
Dr Thomas Scalea said in a briefing outside the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center that the officer, later identified as Keona Holley, had been shot several times and was on life support, reports the Baltimore Sun.
“She is seriously ill,” Scalea said at a late afternoon press conference. “She remains on full life support measures at this time.”
Holley’s injuries are “significant,” Scalea said, declining to provide details based on the family’s wishes.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the officer was on duty but did not answer a call in the Curtis Bay area of south Baltimore around 1:30 a.m. when the gunman approached from behind and took off. opened fire and the officer’s vehicle, which was parked near a building. , accelerated and crushed.
Officers who responded to an accident report found Holley, who appeared to be suffering from life-threatening gunshot wounds, and then worked to get the injured officer to Shock Trauma as quickly as possible, police said in A press release.
Harrison said during the afternoon press conference that a vehicle of interest had been identified and was being held by police. Investigators interviewed people potentially linked to the shooting, he said, noting that video footage was recovered along with information from citizens.
“It was a heinous, violent, cowardly, very targeted act,” said the commissioner. Harrison said the shooting did not appear to be a domestic incident.
The officer’s sister, Lawanda Sykes, told the press conference that Holley’s goal was to work for the Baltimore Police Department. She urged anyone with information to come forward and she had words for the suspect.
“The person who did this to my sister, you are a coward,” said Sykes. “You tried to suffocate her and take something that you can’t. She’s stronger than you ever will be.
Kevin Kreamer, who lives across from Curtis Bay Park, said he heard a loud bang which he now knows as the officer’s patrol vehicle hit a fence and over a ledge into the playing field. He said that his wife had heard several shots.
“It’s terrible,” Kreamer told the Baltimore Sun. “My kids sometimes play in this park.”
About 30 police cars were in the neighborhood, blocking the perimeter of the park, but they disappeared at dawn, Kreamer said.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweeted that he had offered all Maryland State Police resources to assist with the investigation after the officer “was shot in a despicable ambush-style attack.” .
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also assisting city police with the investigation.
The city’s police union, Metro Crime Stoppers, ATF, FBI and US Marshal Service were offering rewards totaling $ 59,000 for tips in the case. Hogan tweeted Thursday night that the state would match the awards for a total of $ 118,000.
The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 tweeted early Thursday that union leaders from the city and state police were in the hospital and asked people to keep the officer in their prayers.
Harrison said he and Mayor Brandon Scott had met with the officer’s family members, “who are, like us, clearly angry, confused, looking for answers, and expect us to find who did this and hold one or as many people accountable for it as possible.
“Personally, I am both outraged, disgusted and heartbroken,” Scott said. “… I know Agent Holley didn’t deserve this.” Agent Holley’s relatives and family don’t deserve this.
Holley had volunteered to work overtime, according to Scott.
Police knew few details about the shooting and were asking the public to help them find more information.
“We have a coward on the loose in Baltimore who we need and will find,” Scott said.
Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson, who represents Curtis Bay, told WBAL-AM’s “C4 and Bryan Nehman Show” Thursday morning that he had visited the Southern District Police Station, where officers were under police. shock.
“It’s a level of depravity that shakes us right deep within us,” Ferguson said. “I hope this is a wake-up call that we are on a course that is not working.”
There has to be a coordinated plan and every resource has to be at the table, whether it’s state or local, he said.
“Everyone has to put their ego aside, come around a table and say, ‘This can’t go on,'” said Ferguson.