Authorities said a police officer shot a man who robbed a bank in a Baltimore wounded another man involved in the theft, and shot through the windshield of their oncoming vehicle.
The shooting occurred as officers were searching for suspects shortly after a bank robbery near Baltimore County Police. John Watcher said.
Authorities said that no weapons were found from the vehicle or found at the scene. They said the car driver died in hospital, and they added that the injuries to the second man, a passenger in the car who had been detained, did not appear to be threatening his life.
County Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost later tweeted that the injured passenger was wanted in three bank robberies in the area by the FBI and was dubbed “the pilot” because of the photos circulated by that federal agency showing the suspect sunglasses modeled after the pilot inside Banks. The FBI had announced that it was seeking public assistance in identifying the “pilot.”
Neither man’s identity was immediately revealed. Both men are black, but ethnicity did not appear to have been a factor in the shootings or to fit into the larger national conversations about relations between the police and the black community.
Armacost also tweeted that the men had previously robbed a Wells Fargo bank outlet four miles from the Pikesville shooting site.
Traffic was stopped by a patrol sergeant shortly after the bank robbery, in an attempt to block a possible escape route, Wachter told reporters.
“The patrol sergeant came across a vehicle in this line of vehicles,” said Wachter. “At some point, the sergeant fired multiple times.”
Armacost said the officer shot the car “as the car was moving towards the officer,” adding that he had shot through the windshield.
Novelist Dan Wiesberman, a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun, said he was driving nearby when he saw a police car parked on the side of the road at an intersection, blocking traffic.
He told the Associated Press by phone that he then heard shooting – “four quick bursts in a row.”
Vesberman said that a green car was spun on the road and rushed into the intersection, then fell slightly and then collided with a car ahead. “The police came running towards the green car, smashed the passenger side window, (and) took the man out.” He added that the officers handcuffed the man and took him.
Wiesberman said he got out of his car, walked a few steps, and saw first responders “give powerful cardiac resuscitation” to another man. He said, “(The man) was stained with blood, his shirt removed, and the oxygen mask was wearing and they were pumping his chest.”
After the shooting, the car the men were traveling in collided with another car.
Wachter said that one of the officers who responded to the shooting scene was wearing a body camera, and that the footage had been downloaded but had not yet been reviewed.
A Baltimore FBI spokesman did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the developments. The agency had issued a letter asking the public to assist in identifying the wanted person nicknamed “the pilot.” The letter said he was wanted in three robberies this month in the region
“While talking on his cell phone, the suspect approaches the table and hands over a bank employee a note announcing an armed robbery and asking for money,” the FBI said. “After receiving the money, he flees on foot.” The photos distributed by the FBI showed the wanted man inside the banks, wearing sunglasses and a pilot hat.