An off-duty Baltimore cop shot and killed a homeless man who allegedly tried to rob him with a realistic-looking toy gun on Dec. 19.
The officer's name was not publicly released by Anne Arundel County Police, which is investigating the shooting in Linthicum Heights, a Baltimore suburb, Fox News reported.
The officer was on his way home after a shift and had just parked his car in the residential neighborhood when he was approached by 32-year-old Edel Moreland, police said. Moreland pointed his toy gun -- which resembled a black revolver -- and demanded cash from the officer, spokesman for Anne Arundel Police Lt. Ryan Frashure told WBBF in Baltimore.
“He had his duty weapon inside of a bag and when the suspect asked for a wallet, he reached into his bag like he was getting his wallet," Frashure said. "That’s when he shot the suspect because he was pointing a gun at him.”
The off-duty officer is an 18-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department and was not wearing a uniform when Moreland allegedly tried to rob him, Frashure said. The cop fired several rounds at Moreland, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Police did not say exactly how many rounds were fired or how many times Moreland was hit.
"He picked the wrong guy to fool with, and it's a shame that happened to him, but it would have been more of a shame if something happened to the young man or his family," Scott Wunderlich, the officer's neighbor, told WBAL-TV.
A report in The Baltimore Sun said it "appeared" as if Moreland was struck with more than one round, and said the homeless man tried to run, but collapsed in the street.
“We feel very bad for the Moreland family to deal with the loss of a son especially around the holidays,” Frashure said. “I’m sorry, our condolences to the family. Our condolences to the Baltimore city officer. It’s a very unfortunate incident to be placed into.”
Moreland's family was skeptical. His older brother, 35-year-old Ulric Moreland, said his family was in shock, and did not believe Edel would try to rob someone.
"He was a great person," Ulric told The Baltimore Sun. "He would give the shirt off his back ... I've never known him to do anything like that before."
Moreland's body was taken to the Baltimore Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. As of Dec. 21, authorities have not said if the autopsy was completed.
The officer who shot Moreland was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Anne Arundel police investigation.