BALTIMORE — A ballot box security guard was shot and wounded early Thursday in Northeast Baltimore in what investigators believe was an attempted robbery of the guard’s personal property, police said.
The 24-year-old man was shot at about 4:55 a.m., outside Achievement Academy, police said. Police do not believe the shooting was related to the election.
Baltimore City Election Director Armstead Jones said the guard is employed by a private security company contracted by the Baltimore City Board of Elections to monitor many of the city’s ballot drop boxes 24 hours a day. The man was in critical but stable condition Thursday afternoon after being shot multiple times, Jones said.
“After looking at video surveillance footage of the parking-lot, detectives learned that armed subjects approached the victim’s vehicle and tried to open the car door,” police said in a statement. “The victim refused and the suspects began shooting at the victim. The ballet box was not touched and did not appear at any time to be the focus of the gunmen.”
Some of Baltimore’s ballot drop boxes are guarded by a private security firm while others are protected by security teams specific to a box’s location. The box at Achievement Academy is one of nearly two dozen drop boxes placed at schools across the city.
Additional security measures have been taken for the Achievement Academy location by the election board and the security company, Jones said, but he declined to elaborate for safety reasons.
Ballot drop boxes are available at all hours to make it easier for voters to participate in the election, but those hours can also create the opportunity for crime, Jones said. He noted that state officials made the decision to keep the boxes open at all times.
“The crime in this city is a lot different than in other counties, and if you change it in one jurisdiction, you probably have to do it all around,” Jones said when asked if he would favor restricting hours for the boxes.
Jones said he was not worried about the incident deterring voters from using the boxes.
“My main concern is for the gentleman’s well-being. I’m praying for him and his family,” he said.
The Maryland State Board of Elections, which oversees the local board, tweeted Thursday that their thoughts are with the victim.
“We are actively cooperating with authorities investigating this matter,” the board said.
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