2 deputies wounded, suspect dead in shopping center shootout

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A man opened fire inside a crowded shopping center restaurant during lunchtime Wednesday and wounded a sheriff's deputy, then exchanged gunfire with another deputy outside, authorities said.

The second deputy was also wounded and the suspect was killed in the shootout, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said.

The first shooting took place inside a Panera restaurant in Abingdon in northeastern Maryland after a deputy responded to a call at 11:46 a.m. Wednesday about someone causing a problem inside, the sheriff said. The responding deputy was wounded, and the shooter left.

Witnesses gave officers a good description of the man and the direction he was headed. After at least one deputy caught up with him, shots were exchanged, leaving the second deputy wounded and the suspect dead, the sheriff said. No one else was hurt.

"I saw two women and a child run from Panera to our back door. They were hysterical. They said they heard gunshots," said bartender Mike Davis, who was working at the Ocean City Brewing Co.'s Taphouse. "We locked the door and went to talk to a cop. The cop said not to let anyone in. Then, we heard more gunshots, 'Pop, pop, pop, pop,' from down in the shopping center. It was hectic."

The sheriff said investigators believe the person acted alone and there is no further threat to the community.

"The restaurant was very full at lunchtime," Gahler said. "Thankfully, no one else was injured."

He declined to discuss the deputies' conditions; they both were taken to hospitals.

Abingdon is about 20 miles northeast of Baltimore. The shopping center is called the Boulevard at Box Hill. It has a mix of shops, restaurants, a grocery store and a bank.

Yellow tape blocked off the Panera and Taphouse restaurants, but people were coming and going freely at other businesses.