An off-duty Baltimore cop shot and killed an armed robbery suspect who police say tried to rob the officer with what turned out to be a toy gun.
The shooting Saturday at 1:30 a.m. on a block of homes decorated with Christmas lights in the Baltimore suburb of Linthicum Heights was being investigated by Anne Arundel County Police, Fox 45 reported. Police said, according to the the station, that the officer fired in self-defense. They identified the robbery suspect as 32-year-old Edel Moreland.
“We feel very bad for the Moreland family to deal with the loss of a son especially around the holidays,” Anne Arundel Police Lt. Ryan Frashure told the station. “I’m sorry, our condolences to the family. Our condolences to the Baltimore city officer. It’s a very unfortunate incident to be placed into.”
The officer, who was not identified, is an 18-year veteran of the department assigned to the special operations unit.
“He had just gotten off work,” Frashure told WJZ-TV. “He had his duty weapon inside of a bag and when the suspect asked for a wallet, he reached into his bag like he was getting his wallet. That’s when he shot the suspect because he was pointing a gun at him.”
The cop, who was not in uniform, fired several shots at Moreland. Police said, according to the station, that Moreland had been homeless for some time. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police determined after the shooting that Moreland’s weapon was a realistic-looking toy gun.
“It looked like a black revolver,” Frashure told WJZ. “That’s believed what the suspect pointed at the officer.”
The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting. At this point the evidence backs up the officer’s version of what happened, the station reported.
“No officer wants to kill anybody, much less use his service weapon if he doesn’t have to,” Frashure said. “This was just an unfortunate series of events.”