After the fatal shooting of a gunman in a Baltimore methadone clinic last year, prosecutors found both involved officers justified.
The incident occurred within the Man Alive methadone clinic last July. The suspect, 49-year-old Ashanti Pinkney, entered into the building and passed the normal sign-in procedure. He proceeded to the laboratory area where the clinic kept its drugs. He pulled out his weapon in his approach.
Then, Pinkney fired twice into the lab area before continuing towards an employee office. He threatened the clinic supervisor he found there, forcing her to give him access to the drugs.
She negotiated with Pinkney before granting him access. He agreed to release two nurses before being allowed in.
Prior to the shooting, Pinkney told hostages he only wanted to drink the drugs and kill himself. However, that wasn’t how the incident played out.
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During the resulting hostage situation, Pinkney rambled about various causes, according to witnesses. A manifesto later discovered by investigators cited “miseducation”, “mass incarceration”, and having been poisoned.
Pinkney’s history includes drug and theft charges. However, questions loom over the cause of the escalation.
At one point, a private security guard spoke with Pinkney, attempting to calm him. She reports some success, getting him to place the gun down, albeit always within arm’s reach. When police officers arrived, he picked it back up.
Pinkney fired several times while occupying the clinic. He killed one employee, 52-year-old David Caldwell. His family discovered a note after his death expressing security concerns at the clinic. It mentioned he brought his concerns to LabCorp, which apparently went unaddressed.
The incident came to an end when Pinkney fired at responding police officers. He hit one, critically injuring Sargeant Bill Shiflett. The returning fire killed Pinkney.
Prosecutors found police action during the shooting justified. Shiflett was released from the hospital and received an award from his department.