An off-duty police officer fired at and shot a man who he believed was armed, but was actually just holding a toy gun.
An off duty police officer found himself the victim of an apparent armed robbery in Anne Arundel County early on Saturday morning when he shot and killed his assailant. According to a report from the Washington Post, however, the 41-year-old officer shot Edel Cato Moreland, age 32, after he brandished what seemed to be a revolver. Moreland suffered from apparent gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead when officials arrived at the scene.
According to Anne Arundel police, the suspect’s weapon was not, in fact, a real gun, but a “realistic-looking all-black toy gun resembling a revolver.” The police say that the off-duty cop is an 18-year veteran of the department, working for the special operations division in Baltimore.
According to Lt. Ryan Frashure, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County police, the case will be sent to the office of the state attorney to determine if there are any charges that may be raised against the officer.
The incident took place at roughly 1:36 a.m. in the residential area of Linthicum Heights on the 100 block of Homewood Road. According to Frashure, investigators say hat the officer had just finished a shift and was exiting his vehicle when Moreland approached with the fake gun in hand. The officer was still carrying his service weapon in a bag, and removed it to shoot Moreland multiple times from a short distance.
“It was dark and it happened very quickly. It is a very tough situation for the officer to be in. Obviously, it is a tragedy… we hat to see anyone lose their life,” said Frashure.
Police reported that Moreland had been living without a home for the past few weeks, and did not have anybody to contact in the immediate area.
The Baltimore City Police declined to comment on the incident, and refused to release the officer’s name while the investigation is ongoing.
A report from Baltimore local news on the incident can be found here.