Baltimore officer on life support after ambush shooting

Police in Baltimore are searching for who opened fire on an officer sitting in her police car in the Curtis Bay area early Thursday morning.

Police have identified the officer as Keona Holley. She was shot multiple times and is in guarded condition and on life support at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore police said in a Facebook post.

While Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, during an early morning news conference, did not identify the officer, the Fraternal Order of Police tweeted to “keep her in your prayers.”

Harrison said the officer, who was parked in the 400 block of Pennington Avenue, was on-duty but was not responding to a call around 1:30 a.m. when the shooting occurred.

“At some point a would-be shooter apparently walked up, somewhere from the rear of the vehicle or alongside of the vehicle, and began firing into the vehicle striking our officer,” Harrison said.

The officer apparently then accelerated from a parked position and crashed the cruiser. Other officers then found the vehicle.

“This assassination attempt on a police officer sitting simply in her patrol vehicle, a mother of four, represents a level of depravity that shakes us to our core,” Maryland State Senate President Bill Ferguson said in a statement.

“This is beyond the pale of anything remotely conceivable in our city,” Ferguson said. “Simply put, things are broken and the trajectory we are on is totally unsustainable. It is time to hit reset.”

Calling the shooting “cowardly,” Harrison called on the public to contact police if they know anything about the shooting. Anyone with information may report it anonymously through Metro CrimeStoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP. People also can call 410-396-2100.

Various organizations, including the FBI, ATF and Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, have contributed to offer a reward of up to $59,000 for tips leading to an arrest and conviction. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has said he will match that reward, bringing the total amount to $118,000.

“The mayor and I had an opportunity to meet with family who are, like us, obviously angry, confused, in search of answers, and have an expectation that we will find who did this and hold one or as many people responsible for this as possible,” Harrison said.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott echoed Harrison’s sentiments about the shooting.

“As the commissioner said, this is a cowardly act. And we have a coward on the loose in Baltimore that we must and will find, and that we have to go after someone who was so cowardly, they didn’t have the decency to face this officer who’s in this neighborhood to protect,” Scott said.

Brandon said the officer was in South Baltimore “doing the things that so many people are afraid to do — put themselves at risk in order to protect other folks.”

Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby said this type of violence affects everyone.

“We all stand here, extremely angry. Angry for the police officer who was involved in this cowardly act. Angry for the men and women who stand next to her every single day to risk their lives to keep our city safe. Angry for her family. Violence is unacceptable. But when you see violence that leads to this type of violence, it hits us all,” Mosby said.

Hogan said the Maryland State Police will assist in the investigation.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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