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Off-Duty Officer Fatally Shoots Robbery Suspect Brandishing Toy Gun

LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. (WJZ)-- The Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City Police Departments are investigating a police involved shooting after an off-duty officer fatally shoots a robbery suspect.

WJZ's Amy Yensi has more on the investigation.

Gunshots blast through a quiet street in Linthicum Heights just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday, when an off-duty Baltimore City officer fired his weapon when a suspect tried to rob him at gun point.

"He had just gotten off work. He had his duty weapon inside of a bag and when the suspect asked for his wallet, he reached into his bag like he was getting his wallet," said Lt. Ryan Frashure, Anne Arundel County Police. "That's when he shot the suspect because he was pointing the gun at him."

The officer, an 18-year veteran with the department, fired several shots at the suspect, Edel Moreland.

Moreland fled the scene but collapsed on a nearby roadway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It appears that this is a robbery gone wrong and the officer fired in self-defense," said Lt. Frashure.

Anne Arundel County detectives canvassing the crime scene discovered the gun Moreland was brandishing was fake.

Lt. Frashure says, "One of those pieces of evidence was a toy gun. That was very realistic. It looked like a black revolver. That's believed what the suspect pointed at the officer."

The officer works with the special operations unit was not in uniform when Moreland approached him near the 100 block of Homewood Road.

Police say Moreland has been homeless for some time.

"No officer wants to kill anybody much less use his service weapon if he doesn't have to. This was just an unfortunate series of events," said Lt. Frashure.

The officer is now on routine administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. He was identified as Officer John Bilheimer.

Investigators will be talking to the state's attorney to see if Bilheimer could face charges, but at this point the evidence backs up his version of what happened.

The Anne Arundel County police are urging anyone with information to contact the police tip line 410-222-4700 or Metro Crime Stoppers.

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