A Baltimore County judge on Thursday denied bail to David Linthicum, the man who’s accused of shooting two Baltimore County Police officers and setting off a dayslong manhunt that closed schools and made people stay in their homes.
Circuit Judge Dennis M. Robinson Jr. made the ruling at the conclusion of a bail review hearing for Linthicum, 24, of Cockeysville, who’s charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder and related offenses. He’s being held in the Baltimore County Detention Center.
“From a humanitarian perspective, I recognize why it would be perceived as better for Mr. Linthicum to get the mental health treatment that may ultimately benefit him and hopefully society in general earlier rather than later,” Robinson said. “This is a situation, though, where humanity must yield to a legal standard that emphasizes minimizing threats to public safety.”
Linthicum’s attorneys, Deborah Katz Levi, director of special litigation for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, and James Dills, district public defender for Baltimore County, filed a motion for bail that asked the judge to release their client on home detention so he could receive “much needed psychiatric treatment.”
“I understand that we’re here on very serious charges, involving very serious injury,” said Levi, who urged the judge to take a nontraditional approach with the case. “This is a big ask.”
“David Linthicum is not the individual who was monstrified,” she added.
Police responded to Linthicum’s home on Powers Avenue near Sherwood Avenue on Feb. 8 after his father called 911. He reported that his son was armed and experiencing suicidal thoughts.
In the basement, Linthicum fired more than a dozen rounds with a rifle toward his father, John, and Officer Barry Jordan, who realized after going outside that he’d been shot, police reported.
On Feb. 9, Linthicum shot Det. Jonathan Chih and took his 2013 Dodge Ram 1500, police reported, and then led law enforcement on a pursuit that ended near the Fallston Mall in Harford County.
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office arrested Linthicum on Feb. 10.
Jordan was treated at Sinai Hospital and released the same day. Chih was critically injured and spent 10 days at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland.
During her presentation, Levi went through a PowerPoint that featured childhood photos of her client smiling and spending time with family members. She noted that loved ones including his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends had filled the courtroom in the Baltimore County Courts Building to show support.
Linthicum, she said, lived a somewhat normal life in Baltimore County. His mother, Sonja, is deaf — but he does not know American Sign Language. And his parents went through a contentious and traumatic divorce when he was young.
Levi said her client had a “very loved life” and has “deep and strong” ties to the community. But Linthicum first experienced suicidal ideations at 12, she said, and wanted police to kill him. “All he wanted to do that day was die,” she said.
Throughout her presentation, Levi scrutinized the response from law enforcement and repeatedly described what happened as a call for help that went horribly and tragically wrong for everyone.
Levi said The Myrtle J Scott-Franklin Network LLC in Baltimore, an organization that provides adult psychiatric rehabilitation program services, agreed to take her client. She said she did not think that the right answer was to continue “caging him in the Baltimore County Detention Center.”
“He’s not a bad person,” Levi said. “David needs help.”
But Deputy State’s Attorney John Cox argued that Linthicum posed a flight risk and a danger to the community and asked the judge to continue to hold him without bail.
Cox disputed allegations contained in the motion for bail, including that Linthicum was kept naked in a cell with the lights on for 24 hours a day for almost two weeks after his arrest.
Linthicum opened fire directly on police, Cox said.
“When you’re trying to have the police kill you, you don’t kill the person that you want to kill you,” Cox said.
Linthicum is set to appear back in court for a motions hearing on Sept. 18. His trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 2.