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Two Dead, Including Suspect, From Shooting At Methadone Clinic; BDP Sgt. Injured

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Two men were killed during a shooting inside a Charles North substance abuse clinic Monday morning, including the suspected shooter. Two others, including a Baltimore Police officer, were injured.

City police said they received a call at 7:09 a.m. from the Man Alive treatment center in the 2100 block of Maryland Ave. 

“When our officers arrived, they were met by civilians outside, who told them there was a man inside with a gun who had recently fired shots inside of the building,” Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a news conference.

The suspected shooter, who police identified on Tuesday as Ashanti Pinkney, 49, of the first block of W. 20th St., had been buzzed into the clinic for methadone treatment, Harrison said.

The officers entered the clinic and attempted to deescalate the situation “many times” but the suspect began firing at them, Harrison said. "As the suspect fired upon our officer, he returned gunfire but was struck by the suspect's rounds." 

Pinkney died at the scene. Officers recovered what they believe is the suspect’s firearm near his body. 

Another man, identified on Tuesday as David Caldwell, 52, of the 500 block of Parksley Ave., died from gunshot wounds at a nearby hospital. Caldwell was a Man Alive employee. A nurse at the clinic is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Harrison identified the wounded officer as Sgt. Billy Shiflett of the Northern District. Shifflett, 48, was shot in his lower abdomen below his bulletproof vest, according to doctors. He said Shiflett was alert and talking when he arrived at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, and was immediately taken into surgery. He is in stable condition. 

Shiflett is an authorized patrol rifleman who was carrying his specialty weapon during the incident.

"We only fired at one suspect," Harrison said. "We only encountered one suspect who fired at our officer and we only fired in one direction at one person."

Man Alive has been treating patients for substance use and mental health disorders for over 50 years, according to its website. Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has praised the clinic for its opioid addiction treatment methods.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the suspect demanded to be let into an area of the clinic where medication is kept. 

“Open that [expletive] door or I’m going to shoot you,” eyewitness George Dowler reportedly recalled Pinkney saying. 

"This incident is a tragedy for everyone in Baltimore City, most especially for the individuals who lost their lives or were injured and their families, people who receive services at this clinic, the staff, and the Midtown community,"  Behavioral Health System Baltimore, a local behavioral health authority, said in a statement.  

"Outpatient treatment clinics are safe, secure and provide a much needed health care service for many people in Baltimore. Violent incidents, such as the one that occurred, are not common. Clinics are monitored for safety and regulatory compliance regularly," the statement continued. 

The incident is under internal BPD investigation because it was a police-involved shooting, Harrison said. 

This story has been updated.

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.
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