On July the 31st, authorities confirmed that they were investigating a Maryland transportation officer and two of his companions. The trio is accused of shooting and killing birds from a boat near the Key Bridge in Baltimore. After the incident, several birds were found deceased near the scene. It also believed that some of the ammunition may have come dangerously close to a nearby evening dinner cruise ship.
In total, five birds were found dead after the incident on July the 21st. After a search of the boat, authorities discovered upwards of 300 rounds of ammunition. Of the five dead birds, one was a federally protected gull. Another was identified as a double-crested cormorant.
A Baltimore Police spokeswoman confirmed that one of the suspects was an off-duty officer with the state’s Transportation Authority, which is responsible for state bridges, toll roads and the like. The spokeswoman refused to release the suspect’s name, since no charges have been officially filed against the individual.
A spokesman with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Lt. Kevin Ayd, confirmed that the officer’s powers had been suspended. He has also been placed on administrative duty, until the investigation can be concluded. Police are in the process of filing charges, but they first need to figure out which agency will have jurisdiction.
Federal authorities may get involved since the bird was federally protected. Baltimore police may also have jurisdiction since the incident took place in the Patapsco River, which is approximately six miles away from the Inner Harbor.
On July the 21st, Baltimore police received two emergency calls connected to the shooting. One of the calls complained about people in a boat shooting at birds. The other claimed that shots were fired towards the cruise ship, the Spirit of Baltimore. General Manager for Entertainment Cruises, which operates the Spirit of Baltimore, admitted that no shots were fired in close vicinity to the ship.
However, the captain did point police in the right direction. He went on to conclude that patrons were probably unaware of the gunfire. Shortly after the calls, Marine officers and the United States Coast Guard chased the suspects at high speeds to Bear Creek. A spokeswoman for Baltimore police, Nicole Monroe, confirmed that an observer in a police helicopter watched the chase.
One of the suspects was spotted throwing a long firearm into the water. A photograph was taken to mark the firearm’s location. After the helicopter was able to convince the boat to stop, the boat’s three occupants were detained. Subsequently, the long rifle was retrieved from the water.
After a search of the boat, authorities recovered more than 200 rounds of shotgun ammunition, 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and 100 rounds of 5.7mm ammunition. Nicole Monroe admitted that the suspects appeared to have been intoxicated. The suspects’ speech was slurred and the boat was littered with empty beer cans.
While sobriety tests were administered at the time, the investigators have refused to release the results with charges still pending.