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Dramatic footage captures police shootout aboard bus in Maryland

WARNING: Video contains disturbing images which may not be suitable for all viewers. Discretion is advised.

Prosecutors have cleared police of any wrongdoing following a dramatic and deadly shooting aboard a public transit bus in Maryland earlier this month.

Now newly-released video, captured from multiple angles, shows the moment a suspect in an armed robbery opened fire on police on board the crowded bus.

“I actually had to watch [the video] a couple of times because I was a little bit in disbelief,” Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger told WBAL-TV News in Baltimore, Md.

“You get a very complete picture that these officers were justified in using deadly force because not only were their lives in danger, but the lives of many civilians in the area were in danger.”

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Police in Dunsalk, Md. received a call about at 2:49 p.m. the afternoon of June 7 that a man had robbed two people at gunpoint. At 2:53 p.m. Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) cameras captured Blaine Robert Erb, 35, who police say was the suspect in that armed robbery, board a bus near the Logan Village Shopping Center.

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A short while later, Baltimore County police stopped and boarded the bus, prompting Erb to open fire on an officer as she entered the read doors. Erb then ordered the rest of the passengers off the bus and, brandishing a pistol in either hand, proceeded to open fire at officers at either end of the bus.

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“When the police responded out here, they were able to locate the MTA bus that they thought was involved. They stopped the MTA bus and they engaged the suspect. At some point during that engagement, the suspect fired shots at the officers.

That kicked off a short but intense gun fight between Erb and the officers, who responded with small arms and shotgun fire. Erb even has time to reload his weapons and continue firing before trying to make a run for it out the back exit of the bus.

An officer’s body camera captures Erb dropping to the ground as he fled, possibly as a result of being struck by a bullet. Police moved in, ordering Erb to drop his weapons, but say he was not co-operative and another round of shots is fired. Erb would be pronounced dead at the scene a short while later by paramedics.

“When the police responded out here, they were able to locate the MTA bus that they thought was involved,” Baltimore County police Officer Jennifer Peach said. “They stopped the MTA bus and they engaged the suspect.”

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“At some point during that engagement, the suspect fired shots at the officers. The officers then returned fire and shot the suspect.”

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A Baltimore County police officer was hit twice in the “lower extremities” during the gun battle, but the injuries were not serious and she has since been released from hospital.

Police also confirmed that a 21-year-old civilian was hit during the exchange of gunfire and is currently in stable but serious condition at a local hospital. They are investigating whether she was struck by a bullet fired by the suspect, or the officer.