A gunfight in Dundalk, MD left one police officer plus one bystander injured, and the suspect dead, in what looks like a glaring argument for the use of a patrol rifle. Dundalk is an unincorporated part of Baltimore County and falls under the jurisdiction of Baltimore County Police Precinct 12.
The incident apparently began when officers responded to a call about an armed robbery in progress at a shopping center, with reports of one suspect engaged with two other suspects on the street. The armed suspect opened fire on responding officers, then took cover on an MTA bus. After exchanging numerous rounds with officers (see video below) the suspect bailed from the bus and ran for it. He evidently made it to a second vehicle, taking cover there, and then was killed by rounds fired by one or more of the officers.
As you can see, the fight lasted a surprising length of time.
What do we know? We know at least some of the patrol units are right up close to the MTA bus. There may be a good reason for that, there may not. We know he moved back and forth between the exit doors. We know 10 or more rounds were fired when he bolted from the bus to the rear of the van, though we don’t know how many were his and how many were officers’, and we know he wasn’t afraid to fight it out. Nor do we know when the officer was hit, or where she was in the response timeline.
It also appears that he was carrying two weapons (1:11), which of course could mean a lot or nothing, and we’d rather face someone who carries two guns by necessity than someone who is sufficiently proficient to reload under stress. At least another twenty rounds were fired over the course of over a full minute after he began engaging officers from behind the van. We don’t know the ground truth or if there was any way to maneuver on him, nor do we know if there were any rifles deployed (though we don’t see or hear any, unless we missed them).
Oh, and we know there will always be dumbasses happy to film a fight on their cell phone (in this case at least two).
Happily he got a dirt nap and no one else was killed.
This is a self-evident excellent example of why training under stress, the carriage of some sort of IFAK, a reasonable “basic load” on the duty belt and a good vest should be the norm. This is not in any way a criticism of the BCPD officers on scene — it would be asinine for anyone to start critiquing the event based on initial reports, which are always wrong, and the myopic perspective of a single cell phone. We have no way of knowing what they were equipped with, or even really how they responded.
All we know is, nobody texts you when you start your shift and says, “Hey, you’re gonna be in a gunfight today.” Nor will anyone warn you that today’s gunfight will be the exception the norm when it comes to OIS shootings, taking place at greater ranges and for longer periods of time than what is reflected in the statistics.
Carry your gear, keep your mind right, practice your trauma skills. The officer hit today took one in the leg sometime around 3pm local. We don’t know exactly what time she was loaded onto a bus, nor what sort of medical equipment other officers had in their vehicle (they were crouched at the rear of one unit with the length of the car between them). We do know it was approximately 3:40pm local before she arrived at Shock Trauma Hospital. In this case, happily, everything worked out. But what if the asshole in the bus had been using a rifle, or hadn’t made a break for it?
What if she’d been by herself or with just one other covering officer in the ass end of nowhere or some alley somewhere?
You gotta be able to shoot. You gotta be able to plug holes, in yourself if need be.
You oughta be carrying a rifle if policy allows for it.
Hopefully we’ll see body-cam footage at some point to better decipher this. Why? No, not to second guess the officers — but good, bad, or both you can bet there will be some lessons to be learned.
You can read more about the Dundalk, MD gunfight as information is released on the Baltimore County Public Safety Twitter Feed.
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I believe that BCoPD has a limited patrol rifle program, but they are sparse when compared to the size of the Agency. I agree, a patrol rifle – especially one with a good optic on it – would have been perfect for deployment from the angle the one cell phone recording came from. That would have ended that scumbag much faster.
All that said, BCoPD had a really bad day at the office and persevered through a challenging situation. The bad guy got his just reward. Well done!