Man singes police officer, barricades himself in apartment

Johns Hopkins Hospital

A police officer sustained minor burns after responding to a call of a burglary at a Northeast Baltimore apartment building and being confronted by a man wielding a makeshift blowtorch made from an aerosol can, police said.

The officer shot at the man, identified as Sean Lee, 44, but he missed and Lee retreated into his apartment and barricaded himself inside, according to police. Lee eventually gave himself up, and police said Saturday that he will face assault, destruction-of-property and arson charges in connection with the incident.

The building in the 6400 block of Loch Raven Boulevard houses elderly and disabled residents, police said, and they had to be evacuated to the first floor before SWAT teams could get to work dealing with the barricaded man. Some residents had to be carried down the stairs, according to Maj. Richard Worley, who was on the scene.

"It took a team effort to get the scene under control," Worley said.

Lt. Col. Darryl De Sousa, who was also there, said the officer's injuries from the flame were relatively minor. "It seared his radio cord," he added.

But the flame set off the building's sprinkler system, according to De Sousa, making the work of getting the residents out of harm's way more difficult.

Benjamin Angel, who lives nearby, said he heard police sirens and came to the scene. He said he told officers he saw a man in an upper-floor apartment window flashing what appeared to be a light.

The initial call came in at about 8:30 p.m. and by around 11 p.m., police said they had taken Lee into custody. Worley said he lived in the building and was trying to break into another apartment.

Another officer responding to the scene crashed into a vehicle stopped on Loch Raven Boulevard and was taken to Shock Trauma for minor injuries. A person in the other vehicle was taken to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, police said.

Baltimore Sun reporters Justin Fenton and Carrie Wells contributed to this article.

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