After a security guard was assigned to protect a ballot drop box in northeast Baltimore, he was shot early Thursday morning around 4:55 a.m., according to police. Though the victim was injured, none of the wounds are fatal.
According to CBS News, surveillance video shows that multiple armed suspects were involved. “The victim was working the midnight to eight shift for a security company as an unarmed guard tasked with keeping watch over an election ballot box. 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. 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,” said Baltimore Police Department in a press statement.
At present, detectives are looking into the case as a possible attempted robbery. "It's a shame we're living in a time where a person can't be minding their own business, making an honest wage, and someone does something like they did here," Baltimore City Board of Elections Director Armstead Jones said.
Given the need for mass amounts of mail-in ballots to keep people safe during the pandemic, more consistent efforts to ramp up security across the country have been employed. In Baltimore specifically, ballot drop boxes have been made available at all hours to encourage voter participation in the November election. The 24-year-old guard, who’s employed by a private security company contracted by the Baltimore City Board of Elections, is one of many who have recently been tasked with protecting drop boxes 24 hours a day. Despite this incident, Jones says there’s no plan to reduce the hours that ballot boxes are open.
Though the incident doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the ballot box, additional security measures are now being taken to protect the location at Achievement Academy, the school where the man was shot, according to The Baltimore Sun.
This all comes after many attempts at voter suppression — including sweeping issues with the U.S. Postal Service, and fake ballot boxes showing up in California as orchestrated by the Republican party. President Donald Trump has also notably called for an “army” to protect the election after claiming that people voting for Biden would attempt to vote twice, and that mail-in ballots would lead to voter fraud.
The Maryland Board of Elections is currently working with authorities in an investigation of the situation, but there are no further updates to the case at this time.
Refinery29 has reached out to Baltimore police. We will update this story as we know more.