Baltimore police: Man arrested near scene of recent riots

Accidental Discharge Nearly Incites Further Unrest in Baltimore, Police Say

BALTIMORE (AP) - Days after riots crippled Baltimore, tensions again escalated Monday after police said they arrested a man who appeared to be armed. The arrest drew a crowd of protesters who chanted, "Black community, control the police!"

Lt. Col. Melvin Russell said police pursued a man who was spotted on surveillance cameras and appeared to be armed with a handgun. Police said the man was taken into custody after a brief chase, during which a gunshot was heard.

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(5/1 update) Baltimore curfew - Freddie Gray riots
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Baltimore police: Man arrested near scene of recent riots
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 30: Riot police advance on protesters and media during protests in the Sandtown neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested on April 30, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 30: Members of the National Guard sit parked in a humvee in the Sandtown neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested on April 30, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 29: Riot police monitor protesters near a CVS pharmacy that was looted and burned by rioters on Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 29: Protesters argue near a CVS pharmacy that was looted and burned by rioters on Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 29: Protesters argue near a CVS pharmacy that was looted and burned by rioters on Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protestors defy curfew in front of police officers the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protestors taunt police officers the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Police enforce a mandatory, city-wide curfew of 10 p.m. near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protesters hang out front of riot police minutes before a mandatory, city-wide curfew of 10 p.m. near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protestors say the Lord's Prayer beside riot police the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Riot police depart after forming a barricade and dispensing tear gas near the burned out CVS pharmacy the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Protestors defy curfew and taunt police officers the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: A protester holds up a sign as police enforce a mandatory, city-wide curfew of 10PM near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: A motorcycle group formed a line in front of the Baltimore riot police the night after citywide riots over the death of Freddie Gray on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: A woman yells at police near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: A man hugs a friend after being prayed over during a protest near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Riot police stand watch over a tire shop during protests near the CVS pharmacy that was burned to the ground yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Russell said that police never fired their weapons and that no one was shot. Police recovered a handgun loaded with three rounds, one of which was spent. The suspect was not injured and did not want to go to a hospital, but was taken in an ambulance anyway, he said.

MORE: Fox news anchor Shepard Smith apologizes for Balt. story shooting error

Sen. Catherine Pugh, a Democat whose district includes the area where the situation occurred, said she went to a hospital to check on the man. She said she asked him if he was OK, and he told her he was.

"There were no visible injuries," Pugh said, though she didn't know what happened to him. The man was visibly upset, but he was able to see his mother before he was released to police, who arrested him, Pugh said. The man was able to walk to a police van, where he was strapped in and taken to Central Booking, she said.

Live television coverage and photos tweeted from the scene showed medics putting a man in an ambulance and a large police presence, with officers lining up to apparently block one street.

The arrest happened in the same area where police first spotted Freddie Gray on April 12. He was arrested and fatally injured in police custody. Six officers were charged Friday in Gray's death.

A few dozen police officers wearing helmets and carrying shields formed a line across North Avenue as crowds gathered across the street, occasionally shouting "Control the police!" at the officers. Minutes after police briefed reporters, the line of officers left the street and police began to allow traffic through the intersection.

Meanwhile, about a dozen protesters briefly blocked traffic while chanting, "Kill the killer cop!" and "Black community, control the police!"

Chimurenga Waller, an activist from St. Petersburg, Florida, with the Black is Black Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, said that even if nobody was shot, the police overreacted to the situation.

"I think black people are always going to be skeptical about stories by the police, just like we were skeptical about the story about Freddie Gray," he said.

Pugh, who was nearby and arrived at the scene shortly after the incident, said she was trying to sort through conflicting narratives of what happened. She said witnesses insisted that police had shot someone, which police denied.

She said police did a good job defusing tensions after the incident by quickly breaking down a barricade and scaling back the number of officers on the scene. But she said police should consider using different enforcement tactics while tensions are still high.

"I think we need to keep police presence down at this time, especially in this area," said Pugh, a Democrat who represents west Baltimore. "I think we ought to just dial it back a little. Let's give the community a chance to heal."

James Carter, manager of Metro PCS cellphone store, said the incident happened about 5 feet from his shop on North Avenue. He heard a single gunshot and waited to hear another, but didn't.

Carter said he looked outside and saw no sign of a gun on the sidewalk. He went back into his shop, came back out and then saw a gun on the ground. He said he also saw a young African-American man lying on the ground. Carter said he saw no blood. He said the young man yelled as he was put into the ambulance.

Carter said people are "extremely" jumpy. This is the biggest police presence at Pennsylvania and North avenues since Saturday, the last night of the curfew, he said.

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Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore mayor, Baltimore protests, Freddie Gray
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Baltimore police: Man arrested near scene of recent riots
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake takes questions at a news conference at Bethel AME Church, April 26, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rawlings-Blake discussed the recent unrest in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. Gray's funeral is scheduled for Monday morning. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks to community members and the media near the site of a destroyed CVS pharmacy after riots broke out yesterday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake greets a concerned citizen the morning after citywide riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks to the media outside Mondawmin Mall after looting broke out yesterday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (3rd L) pays her respects at Freddie Gray's casket during his funeral at the New Shiloh Baptist Church during his funeral April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake takes her seat for Freddie Gray's funeral at New Shiloh Baptist Church April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Mourners gathered in large numbers at the funeral of Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died April 19 after an encounter April 12 with police left him with grave spinal injuries. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 26: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake looks on during a news conference at Bethel AME Church, April 26, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rawlings-Blake discussed the recent unrest in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. Gray's funeral is scheduled for Monday morning. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks to the media outside Mondawmin Mall after looting broke out yesterday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 26: U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) speaks as Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (R) looks on during a news conference at Bethel AME Church, April 26, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rawlings-Blake discussed the recent unrest in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. Gray's funeral is scheduled for Monday morning. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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