WOODLAWN, Maryland – Four people were killed and at least one injured in a shooting and fire early Saturday in Maryland, authorities said, adding that the suspect was shot by police and was among the dead.
Authorities said it was not immediately clear what sparked the violence on a suburban Baltimore residential street. They identified the dead suspect in a subsequent news release as Everton Brown, 56, and said he lived on the street.
The police statement added that four officers unloaded their firearms and all had been placed on routine administrative duties as per department policy. He added that police body cameras recorded footage of the scene that officers found and showed that a house was completely engulfed in flames when they arrived.
Gail Watts, who lives down the street from where the fire destroyed at least two residences, told The Associated Press that she ran out around 6:30 a.m. after hearing an explosion. He saw a massive fire and a man he identified as a longtime neighbor standing in the middle of the street.
Watts then heard gunshots and saw people running for cover. He said he heard the neighbor next to the suspect yelling for help. “And the next thing I knew, I looked outside and he shot her and she was lying on the sidewalk,” Watts said.
Watts, who said he has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years, said the suspect had been aggressive towards neighbors in the past.
Another longtime neighborhood resident, Kweku Quansah, told the Baltimore Sun that what happened Saturday morning “was not surprising.”
Quansah told the newspaper that he heard an explosion, went out to check, and found that he was being shot. He told the newspaper that the suspect had often clashed with neighbors who had reported him to the police.
“We don’t know why he was doing that, but this has been happening over and over again. A lot of people tried to complain but nothing was done, ”Quansah said.
Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Joy Stewart told a news conference that officers responded to reports of a fire and active shooter in the Woodlawn neighborhood of west Baltimore around 6:40 a.m. A.M
Officers found a gunman outside and shot him, he said.
Then authorities began fighting a fire that started in one home and spread to two others, Tim Rostkowski, a spokesman for the county fire department, said at the news conference.
The building where the fire started and an adjacent one collapsed, Rostkowski said, and a third home was badly damaged.
“We have this fire that happened. We also have this suspect who was armed. How they’re all related, it’s too early to tell at this point, ”Stewart said.
Police initially said the death toll was three. In an update Saturday afternoon, they said that in addition to the suspect, two men and a woman were dead. They added that another man had been taken to a hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
Police said the investigation that was opened involved various law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels.
Woodlawn is an unincorporated community in Baltimore County, approximately 14 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the inner harbor of downtown Baltimore.