Baltimore, MD – An off-duty Baltimore police sergeant was getting a haircut on Saturday afternoon when a gunman barged into the business and gunned down the barber, according to police.
The quick-thinking officer immediately drew his own weapon and returned fire, killing the shooter, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Investigators said the suspect, later identified as 38-year-old Carlos Ortega, is also responsible for having shot two other people earlier in the day.
One of those two victims, 44-year-old Javier Villegas Cotto, died from his wounds.
The other victim was critically injured in the attack, police said.
Investigators said Ortega then headed over to The Bladi Style barbershop located in the 5700-block of O’Donnell Street, where he murdered the 33-year-old barber, Rafael Jeffers, at approximately 3:16 p.m., The Baltimore Sun reported.
The off-duty sergeant was in plain clothes at the time of the attack and escaped without injury, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison told reporters.
Commissioner Harrison said the unnamed sergeant displayed “great bravery” during the incident, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“This is something the average person wouldn’t do,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said. “And this is something that our officers do each and every day in the city of Baltimore.”
Scott noted that the gunman likely would have wounded or murdered more victims if the sergeant hadn’t intervened, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“We don’t know what would have happened if he was not able to respond in that way, and how many more incidents could have happened tonight here in Baltimore City,” the mayor said.
Commissioner Harrison said investigators are working to determine how the three shootings are connected, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Cotto was fatally shot in the 4600-block of Eastern Avenue, according to police.
People who work in the neighborhood told WMAR Cotto was also a barber, and that he was gunned down outside the shop where he worked.
The surviving victim, a 37-year-old man, was shot in the 500-block of East Oliver Street at approximately 2 p.m. and remained in critical condition Saturday, the New York Post reported.
“We’re processing three different scenes in three parts of the city,” Commissioner Harrison told The Baltimore Sun. “While this perpetrator has expired from his injuries, we will still need answers to these questions.”
The off-duty sergeant has been placed on administrative duties while the incident is being investigated, as per protocol, the New York Daily News reported.