Baltimore police officer shot in parking lot described as ‘an extraordinary officer’

Baltimore police have identified an officer who was critically injured by an apparently deliberately shot outside a police station as “an extraordinary officer”.

Baltimore police identified the officer as 30-year-old Belinda Boykins and said her bullet-proof vest saved her life, as she was ambushed in the parking lot of a housing complex just before 10pm on Wednesday.

Police officials said she had been honoured for her dedication to the police department.

As mayor Catherine Pugh and the chief of police, Darryl De Sousa, expressed gratitude and excitement at her contribution, Boykins’ mother, Dana Boykins, in tears, spoke for the family.

“We thank the lord. Her faith is strong. She has a blessing because God wants her to be a blessing,” Dana Boykins said. “She’s my baby. I’m going to cry so much when she leaves us.”

Boykins was not the target of the attack, police said. De Sousa said a young man on a bicycle was apprehended after a few blocks.

Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said the alleged gunman had threatened the officer in the past. “This suspect is a chronic criminal, a chronic violent criminal,” Davis said. “This is a longtime violent offender who had a disagreement with this officer.”

Baltimore police commissioner Darryl De Sousa has declined to name the cyclist who was taken into custody, but confirmed he was a 21-year-old homeless man. De Sousa said earlier the cyclist approached the officer as she was parked and said he wanted to talk to her. De Sousa said that, out of courtesy, the officer went to talk to him and then the suspect opened fire.

De Sousa said the victim was shot in the torso. She was declared in critical condition at a hospital.

Police said the main focus now was determining whether the shooting was random or targeted.

On Thursday, Boykins’ unit and the patrol division headquarters were flooded with grief-stricken officers – none of whom she had encountered.

Davis, the deputy commissioner, said that when Boykins graduated from the police academy two years ago, she was one of only 10 black female officers. “You couldn’t have asked for a more extraordinary example of what it means to be an extraordinary member of this police department,” he said.

“We’re here for you.”

• This article was amended on 1 December 2020 to clarify that the officer, Belinda Boykins, was not the intended target.

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