A gunman fleeing police in a car shot wildly at officers and pedestrians across a swath of Baltimore on as he led cruisers on a desperate chase that looped through city streets for at least 20 minutes before he was captured.

Live helicopter shots from WJZ-TV showed a beat-up gray sedan recklessly swerving between cars on narrow streets and residential blocks of West Baltimore with police cruisers traveling behind. The suspect's car sped through traffic lights, narrowly missing pedestrians and clipping at least one vehicle.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis later said the gunman fired a total of five shots during his chaotic ride.

Live helicopter shots showed a beat-up gray sedan recklessly swerving between cars on narrow streets and residential blocks of West Baltimore with police cruisers traveling behind. Photo / AP
Live helicopter shots showed a beat-up gray sedan recklessly swerving between cars on narrow streets and residential blocks of West Baltimore with police cruisers traveling behind. Photo / AP

"He jeopardised an entire city today due to his intentional recklessness with two guns," Davis said, adding that the incident was "absolutely insane."

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One pedestrian was hit in the leg. A motorist was shot in the upper body and is in hospital with life-threatening injuries. A police officer who initially pulled the suspect over was shot at during the chase but was apparently not hit.

A passenger in the critically injured driver's car suffered cardiac arrest and is also at a hospital, say police.

When the suspect's car rolled to a stop at an intersection, a person ran to him and grabbed him in a bear hug. They rolled to the ground before being surrounded by police. T.J. Smith, the police department's chief spokesman, said the person who ran up to the car as officers moved in was the suspect's girlfriend.

The officers did everything right during the chaos and conducted themselves with
The officers did everything right during the chaos and conducted themselves with "great bravery." Photo / AP

"Fortunately, she was not injured," Smith tweeted, adding that the suspect and his girlfriend "had been communicating with each other" during the chase.

One officer is receiving treatment for a "significant injury" to one of his legs, but Davis said he was not clear on how that injury happened. He said his officers did everything right during the chaos and conducted themselves with "great bravery".

Authorities have identified the man as Mausean Carter.

This photo provided by Baltimore Police shows Mausean Carter. Photo / AP
This photo provided by Baltimore Police shows Mausean Carter. Photo / AP

Carter has been charged with several crimes, including first-degree murder. Police said the suspect in the car chase was a gunman responsible for a late triple shooting that resulted in a death.

They also believe he was behind a non-fatal shooting in Baltimore last week.

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Police seized a handgun and an assault-style rifle from the suspect's car.

A number of residents were glued to their computers, phones or televisions during the televised chase. Some were shocked, but others took the madness in stride.

"That was definitely crazy. But you know, it's sort of just another day in Baltimore," said Andrea White, a title agent who works at a business not far from where the chase concluded.

- AP