The man accused of taking four hostages, including a 7-year-old girl, in a West Baltimore Burger King on July 17 was identified by police as George Johnson, 26, of the 1500 block of Penrose Avenue in West Baltimore. Johnson is facing numerous charges including different counts of handgun violations, illegal detention of the hostages, reckless endangerment and auto theft according to Baltimore City Police Spokesman T. J. Smith.
Police say George Johnson took four hostages, including a 7-year-old girl, at a West Baltimore Burger King. (Baltimore Police Department)
A search of Maryland court cases shows Johnson hasn’t been in trouble in the past and all of the charges he is currently facing stems from barricading himself inside of the Burger King and taking hostages. Those charges also include various counts of traffic violations such as failure to stop for red light, unsafe lane change, and failure to control speed on highway to avoid collision resulting in 11 traffic charges due to the police pursuit. The police originally pursued Johnson because he is a suspect in a pending rape case. He has also been charged with the rape.
According to Smith, police began to pursue a vehicle the suspect was driving when he refused to pull over for police at around 11:00 a.m. The suspect, wanted for a rape that occurred “no more than 24 to 48 hours ago” according to Smith, fled inside of the Burger King. While being pursued by police, the suspect ran into a vehicle in the area of the 1700 block of Washington Blvd and Monroe Street. The civilian in the other vehicle sustained non-threatening injuries.
Johnson’s mother, Kimberlee Combs spoke with media and said that police allowed her to speak with her son after he was taken into custody Sunday evening. When she spoke with her son, she asked him was the 7- year-old hostage ok and Johnson said, “Ma, I kept telling the little girl we’re going to be OK.”
According to Johnson’s mother, he called some family members from inside the restaurant
“He was scared. He thought the police would shoot him as soon as he came out”
Johnson, who has a four-year-old son, is a freelance documentary filmmaker and was in the process of getting his CDL license to drive trucks. He has worked as a security job and recently planned to re-enroll in college.
Johnson’s mother said she has a newfound respect for police after the way they ended the barricade without her son being harmed.