BALTIMORE — Ashanti Pinkney’s treatment had not been going well, according to his friends.
A regular client at the Man Alive Lane Treatment Center, a substance abuse clinic, Pinkney, 49, had been complaining in recent days about how his methadone doses were too weak.
“He complained to me he wasn’t getting enough,” said a friend of Pinkney’s who regularly got coffee in the mornings with him before they went to the clinic together. “He said, ‘They’re not doing stuff the right way.’ ”
Days later, Pinkney walked into the clinic, grabbed a female employee and held her at gunpoint screaming that he wanted his “goddamn dosage,” according to the friend, who was waiting in line for his methadone. The friend spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is a patient at the clinic and fears the stigma of being associated with addiction.
The friend said he tried to calm Pinkney during the incident on Monday morning but heard gunshots and ran outside.
Pinkney, police said, fatally shot a lab employee and seriously injured a Baltimore police sergeant before dying in an exchange of gunfire with police.
The day after the shooting, police identified the clinic employee as David Caldwell, 52.
Caldwell worked for the past five years for LabCorp, the company said in a statement Tuesday, and was a patient services technician for Man Alive.
“This is a very sad time for LabCorp, and we are providing grief support for our employees,” the company said. “Our hearts go out to David’s family.”
A relative of Caldwell’s said Tuesday evening that the family is grieving and not ready to talk.
The shooting occurred just after 7 a.m. Monday, when Pinkney went to the treatment center on Maryland Avenue, police said.
People inside the clinic called 911, saying a man had fired at least two shots.
When officers arrived, they tried to calm Pinkney but he began shooting at them and struck police Sgt. Bill Shiflett, police said.
Shiflett, a 25-year member of the police department, was shot in the stomach under his bulletproof vest and an officer dragged him from the building, police said.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said officers tried to “de-escalate the situation many times” before police fired back and shot Pinkney, who died at a hospital.
Baltimore police said Tuesday that Shiflett was still in the hospital, “where he is being treated for his injuries.”
Officers searching the clinic found Caldwell in a different room. Hedied at a hospital. A 41-year-old woman who was working at the facility was also hurt and was released Monday night from a hospital.
An official for Man Alive could not be reached to comment Monday and Tuesday. A phone message for the clinic directed callers to a provider across the street. The day after the shooting, a sign on the stoop, draped with flowers, sat outside the shuttered door: “GOD Bless Manalive Staff & B.P.D. Sarge. God love.”
Founded in the 1960s, Man Alive was the first methadone clinic in Maryland and the second to open in the United States, according to the facility’s website.
Neighborhood residents said that Caldwell collected their urine samples before they received their methadone. They remembered him as a supportive, friendly man who always kept a bowl of hard candy out for those who came through.
“Thank you for shopping at Walmart,” he would sometimes joke after patients deposited their samples, client Regina Brown recalled.
“I’d laugh and ask, ‘Can I have a candy?’ ” Brown said. “He was real nice.”
Another man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is receiving treatment, called Caldwell “personable” and “a good spirit” who made the awkward task of providing urine easier. When the man told Caldwell that he had been writing a book about addiction and recovery, the clinic worker bought the book for $10 to support him.
“He said he loved it,” the man said.
Relatives of Pinkney could not be reached on Tuesday. But many in the neighborhood who knew him as “Ghost” said he was a fixture along Maryland Avenue, often seen standing outside the clinic waiting for it to open.
Roslyn Scott called him her “buddy.” They would chat every day along Maryland Avenue as both went to and from the clinics in the area. Scott recalled that Pinkney had recently been complaining about the treatment he was receiving at Man Alive.
“He said they were not treating him right,” she said. “He said, ‘They don’t know how to talk to people.’
“He was really a loving person,” said Scott, who has been a client at a clinic across the street from Man Alive for 15 years. “If people [were] hungry, he would feed you.”
Scott said that Pinkney would buy her breakfast and cigarettes most mornings. He would flirt with her, say her eyes were pretty, and give her cash now and then.
When Scott found out that he was the shooter, she said, she was shocked.
Looking at a tree where Pinkney often hung out and chatted with her before the clinic opened, Scott said it will be odd not to see him anymore.
“I’ll be looking for him on that corner,” she said.
Ovetta Wiggins, Magda Jean-Louis and Laurel Demkovich contributed to this report.