Suspect who crashed car at Fort Meade hid in storm drain before being captured

- Police say a man suspected of carjacking a vehicle and crashing it into a gate at Fort Meade has been taken into custody.

Officials say normal operations have resumed at the base after several schools in the neighborhood were closed Thursday and residents were asked to remain in their homes while police searched for the suspect.

Fort Meade is home to some of the most sensitive national security installations in the United States. The National Security Agency is located here along with the United States Cyber Command.

But from about 9 p.m. Wednesday night to 10 a.m. Thursday morning, the suspect went right through a gate and was able to hide on Fort Meade's grounds.

On Thursday, the U.S. Army is promising reviews after the second major security breach here in the last six months.

"This was a high speed pursuit observed by our security guards with law enforcement in direct pursuit,” said Fort Meade Garrison Commander Col. Brian Foley.

On Wednesday night, Anne Arundel County police pursued a car wanted in connection with a Baltimore carjacking last weekend. The suspect made a right turn off of Route 175 and right onto Fort Meade.

He sped past armed guards, crashed into a second unmanned gate and then got out of the vehicle. He ran and hid in a storm drain for nearly 13 hours.

“When he reappeared out of the storm drain, he was almost immediately apprehended by law enforcement,” said Col. Foley.

The suspect, Dante Smalls, is in custody of Baltimore police.

The overnight manhunt upended the Fort Meade community. Reduced workforces were ordered and parents scrambled to figure out child care as six on-base schools were closed.

Tougher lessons may lie ahead for the U.S. Army. Earlier in March, two men dressed as women in a stolen car tried to enter a gate at the NSA building. One of those suspects was shot and killed.

The commander said both the gate from this latest incident and security procedures will undergo a top-to-bottom review.

"We will investigate fully this incident and how it occurred to determine if we can make procedural changes to improve our ability to prevent and stop,” said Foley.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools said students will likely not have to extend their school year because of this incident and an emergency waiver will be sent to the state so they won't have to make up the day.

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