2 charged in ambush shooting of Baltimore police officer

Two men have been arrested and charged in a recent ambush shooting that critically wounded a Baltimore police officer and a second shooting soon afterward that left a man dead, police announced Friday.

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Elliot Knox, 31, and Travon Shaw, 32 were in custody. He said at a news conference that the two face charges of attempted murder in the shooting early Thursday of Officer Keona Holley and murder in the shooting death of Justin Johnson.

It wasn’t clear if either man has an attorney, and the case wasn’t immediately listed in online court records.

“This week’s heinous incidents were another tragic reminder of the culture of violence that pervades Baltimore,” Harrison said. “Those who commit these violent, brazen and cowardly acts will be held to account.”

Harrison praised the speed and skill of investigators who worked through the night to solve the shooting of Holley, who was on duty in her patrol vehicle in southern Baltimore around 1:30 a.m. Thursday when she was shot. Rushed to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma, she was in critical but stable condition as of Friday afternoon.

After Holley’s shooting, investigators learned, the two men went to a southwest Baltimore neighborhood about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away where Johnson was killed just after 3 a.m., Harrison said. Investigators have determined that at least one of two guns recovered in the investigation was used in both shootings, the commissioner added.

Harrison credited good detective work and technology for the quick arrests and expressed gratitude for the $118,000 in rewards offered by local, state and federal partners — and numerous tips from community members.

“Those tips aided us in putting pieces together, like putting together pieces of the puzzle,” Harrison said.

Through information gathered from home cameras and license plate readers, investigators were able to locate a vehicle, he said, and the arrests followed.

It’s still unclear what prompted the shootings, Harrison said.

“We have absolute confessions that they did it, they were there,” he said. “We don’t have motive as to why.”

The suspects knew Johnson, but it’s not clear if Johnson knew them, Harrison said.

He added that it was unclear if they knew Holley. Investigators don’t believe her shooting was random, but are investigating whether the men had any previous contact with the officer, according to Harrison.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott asked people to pray for the victim’s families and hoped the arrest would bring them some peace.