- November 19, 2021
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An off-duty Baltimore cop fatally shot a man who stormed inside a barbershop and opened fire, killing an employee, police said.
The gunman, identified as Carlos Ortega, entered The Bladi Style barbershop in Baltimore’s Medford section Saturday afternoon with a handgun and “fired it at one of the barbers” working there, killing him, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison told reporters Saturday.
An off-duty cop in plainclothes who was getting a haircut from another barber reacted immediately and “with great bravery produced his firearm” and fatally shot the attacker, Harrison said.
Cops identified Ortega, 38, early Monday as the man who killed barber Rafael Jeffers, 33, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Investigators believe Ortega was tied to two earlier Saturday shootings, including one that left one person dead. Another victim was listed in critical condition following gunfire near the city’s Greektown section.
“While we don’t have all the information, this is what we believe right now,” Harrison said Saturday during a press briefing near the scene.
The off-duty sergeant, who was not identified publicly, was not hurt during the shooting, Harrison said.
“But our hearts go out to the victims and their families who lost their lives very unnecessarily,” the police chief said while condemning the gun violence in three different locations throughout Baltimore.
The three Saturday shootings occurred within 4 miles of each other and an hour apart, NBC News reported.
The first victim, a 37-year-old man, was found shot multiple times in the 5000 block of East Oliver Street after an argument with the suspected barbershop gunman. He remained in critical condition Saturday, Harrison said.
About 15 minutes later, cops responded to another shooting in the 4600 block of Eastern Avenue, where Javier Villegas Cotto, 44, died after being shot several times, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Harrison said investigators want to talk to anyone who had information about any of the three shooting scenes to “help hold people accountable” in the three shootings.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott praised the quick-thinking officer for responding inside the barbershop, saying he may have prevented other shootings throughout the city.
“This is something the average person wouldn’t do,” Scott told reporters. “And this is something that our officers do each and every day in the city of Baltimore.”
Police were trying Monday to determine a motive linking the three shootings, the Baltimore Sun reported.