Police respond to shooting near Catonsville High School

Robert Wayne Gladden, Jr.

Amid heightened anxiety over two recent gun incidents in schools, Baltimore County police said that the victim of a police-involved shooting was found late this morning on the grounds of Catonsville High School.

The shooting occurred around 11:35 a.m. in the 700 block of Frederick Road, and a fleeing suspect was captured in a parking lot behind the school. The school was not locked down, though police and EMS crews were at the scene, and a police helicopter hovered nearby.

An officer noticed what was believed to be a suspicious vehicle, a white Toyota RAV4 prompting the officer to run the tag number. A search showed that the vehicle was stolen from Carroll County. As the officer went to approach the vehicle, police said the driver attempted to move toward the officer, prompting the officer to fire at least one shot. A police spokesman could not say if the officer was on foot or in his vehicle.

Police said the suspect fled in the RAV4, which was later found in an upper lot near the school's football field. Officers found the suspect lying on the ground, suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper body. The suspect was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Police do not know the suspect's condition but believe that the injuries are not life-threatening.

Police have not identified the officer involved.

Principal Deborah Bittner said that although there was no lock-down, students who were outside as part of a photography class were brought into the school, and students were not allowed outside at lunchtime.

She went on the intercom around noon to let students know that no one at the school had been hurt, and that the incident was not on school grounds. Still, she got a lot of calls about the incident, after word went out on social media.

"Everyone's at heightened alert now with everything that has been going on in the schools. ..." Bittner said. "I just want to make sure that everyone here feels safe."

Carol Smith, who has been a school bus driver for 41 years and was waiting outside, said, "I'm not afraid and the day after I'm afraid, I'll quit this job."

Also Tuesday, police responded to the Forbush School in Northwest Baltimore County, where a 15-year-old had told staffers that he had a weapon, and took the student into custody. He has been charged with disorderly conduct and with disturbing school activities.

The incidents come as county school officials have promised additional safety measures, such as an increased police presence in schools and providing metal-detecting wands.

That announcement followed an incident in which a teacher grabbed a small handgun from a 13-year-old Stemmers Run Middle School student in a class Tuesday morning.

School officials began reviewing school security after police said 15-year-old Robert Gladden Jr. brought a shotgun to school and critically injured a student on the first day of school.

Gladden, who has been charged as an adult with attempted murder, has a bail review hearing scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

mhare@baltsun.com

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