Man sentenced to life without parole in ambush shooting of Baltimore police officer

BALTIMORE (AP) — A man convicted earlier this year of killing a Baltimore police officer and another victim was sentenced Tuesday to two life sentences without parole.

The 2021 deadly shootings occurred just hours apart in separate areas of Baltimore. Prosecutors never established a potential motive in the case, but the evidence they presented was enough to convince jurors to convict Elliot Knox, 34, following a March trial that spanned several days.

Knox received the maximum penalty during a hearing Tuesday morning.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates said in a statement that the sentence “conveys an unequivocal message that acts of violence, which have afflicted our communities, will not be tolerated. Especially acts that seek to harm or malign the women and men who serve our city honorably.”

Knox’s attorney was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Baltimore police officer Keona Holley was sitting in her marked patrol car during an overnight shift when she was ambushed and shot to death. Hours later, Justin Johnson was similarly shot and killed while sitting in a parked car.

Police detained Knox after identifying him as the owner of a vehicle captured on surveillance footage leaving both scenes. He then gave a statement to detectives in which he admitted to some involvement but identified another man as the shooter: Travon Shaw, who would become Knox’s co-defendant.

Shaw, who is also serving life without parole, was convicted of murder and other charges last year for his role in Johnson’s killing. He later pleaded guilty in Holley’s murder as well.

Johnson’s partner testified that he was close friends with Shaw, but police weren’t able to uncover any relationship between Knox and either victim.

Holley joined the Baltimore Police Department in 2019 when she was 37. The mother and former nursing assistant was truly a “good cop” who wanted to give back to her community, according to her family.