BALTIMORE - Police are searching for at least one armed suspect after an officer was killed in the line of duty in the Perry Hall area of Baltimore County.
The officer was injured after she responded to a call made to police for a suspicious vehicle in a neighborhood on Linwen Way just 2 p.m. Monday.
"Our officer responded to this call and she encountered at least one suspect and was critically injured in this altercation with these suspects," said Baltimore County police spokesperson Shawn Vinson. "What exactly happened, we're not sure yet. We may not find out until an actual autopsy is performed. Assisting officers did respond to the area. This officer immediately received treatment."
The officer was transported to MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore where she was pronounced dead at 2:50 p.m.
It is unknown at this time if the officer fired her weapon during the confrontation, Vinson said.
The officer would have been a 4-year veteran of the police department in July, according to police.
“Terrible. We are seeing something in this country today that we have never seen before," said Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence Sheridan. "We are seeing police officers assaulted. A number of officers who have died in the line of duty is up this year. The officers who died at the hands of gunshots is up. So we are telling everybody – be on your toes, don't be complacent, work with each other. This is a bad time in the United States for law enforcement.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted about the officer's passing.
“This tragedy is a solemn reminder of the sacrifice our police and public safety personnel make and are prepared to make to keep us safe each and every day,” said Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones. “We are proud of the bravery and courage and sacrifice of all the men and women who serve on our police force. No one should lose his or her life at the hands of another while trying to protect our communities.”
Sheridan said the slain officer was wearing a body camera and the footage was being reviewed.
Police searched the area for the suspect or suspects involved with the officer's death and the manhunt will continue through the night.
Witnesses reported hearing a pop and seeing the officer run over by a Jeep, according to the Associated Press.
The witnesses described seeing the badly injured officer on the ground as several residents tried to keep her alive, but she was subsequently declared dead at a hospital.
Tony Kurek told The Associated Press his adult son was outside in the family's yard Monday afternoon in the northeast Baltimore County community of Perry Hall when the son saw the officer with her gun drawn, confronting the occupants of a Jeep.
"The next thing he heard was a pop, and he saw the Jeep take off and run right over her," Kurek said.
Logan Kurek, who is a volunteer firefighter, said he heard his younger brother "frantically screaming" and ran outside to perform CPR.
Kurek's neighbor, Dahle Amendt, said he had just settled into his recliner for a rest when he heard a woman's voice outside his house.
"I heard, `Get out of the car!' `Get out of the car!' Get out of the car!' at least three times, and then a pop," Amendt said.
Amendt said his wife also ran outside and tried to revive the officer, to no avail.
"This is a shock. It's a quiet community. It's just so sad," Amendt said.
Authorities asked residents in the area of Belair Road and Klausmier Road to shelter in place due to incident. Belair Road between Ebenezer Road and Chapel Road has been shut down. Drivers were advised to avoid the area.
Three elementary schools were on alert status for hours, with students and teachers told to stay in their school buildings as police continued a search for the suspects. But by Monday evening, parents were allowed to come to the schools to pick up their youngsters.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.