I went out for my irregular lunchtime bike ride today, and got an extra adrenaline boost for my final mile.
I joke with friends about city bike riding, calling it “urban assault.” But today, it got a little too urban and a little too close to

Because of Baltimore's odd socio-geography, some of the prettiest spots in the city are smack dab right up against some of the worst. Take Druid Hill Park–it's home to the Baltimore Zoo, the city Conservatory greenhouses, a large resevoir, the city parks headquarters, public tennis facilities, a frisbee golf course…and a quarter-mile from its northwest boundary are alleys that support a robust drug trade. In fact, a few nights ago, a policeman was shot in a struggle for his gun (and saved by his badge, which took the bullet for him).

That fact was somewhere in the back of my conciousness as I struggled uphill near the Zoo entrance and was passed by a fast-moving police cruiser. It wasn't an unusual sight, so I kept on pedaling. As I crested the hill , I saw the car was stopped ahead of me, and the officer who had been driving it was standing in the road, talking to a black man sitting on the curb.

As I got closer, I saw that the policeman had his sidearm drawn and aimed at the head of the man on the curb, and was barking a warning. I pedaled past, 12 feet from the suspect and five from the officer. “Now lay down on the ground and keep your hands in front of you…”

A few feet further, and pedaling a bit faster, I saw a line of cruisers and plainclothes cars coming uplill toward me. One, two….seven cruisers. Further downhill, another patrolman and a K-9 unit were searching through the brush.

The last mile home was my fastest in a while.

As it turns out, the guy is a suspect in the police shooting.


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