He noted that the .38-caliber Kel-Tec handgun Pardus used was so small that it could be "concealed in the palm of your hand," and that detecting such a weapon without intrusive searches of every visitor would have been nearly impossible.
"The frustrations we have in protecting Baltimore, not just at Hopkins but across the city, is that police officers aren't equipped with X-ray vision," Bealefeld said. "It speaks to the vigilance of all of us. I would like to think there is some communication between a family member that we missed. Was there some communication between staff?
"This is America, and I would not be in favor of sacrificing people's civil liberties to the extent that it would require us to ensure that no one has a penknife in their pockets," the commissioner said.
Bealefeld, asked whether people should be scared about going to Hopkins, offered some insight into his closely guarded personal life.
"My mother suffered a stroke over a year ago," he said, "and she's received care in a number of area hospitals. She gets treatment two days a week, and this morning she's at Hopkins getting her physical therapy, and I have zero concerns about her safety."
Jessica and Kevin Goldsmith said security at Hopkins was more restrictive than at the hospital in Fredericksburg, Va., where their 4-year-old daughter had been treated for the past two weeks. They had arrived at Hopkins early Friday.
Both parents wore gray wristbands to permit them to enter the hospital and white ones for the ward where their daughter was staying. Within hours, they already had had to change the bracelets.
The level of security "annoyed me" said Jessica Goldsmith, but she acknowledged that it could prevent an intruder from reaching her daughter.
The Goldsmiths arrived at 2:30 a.m. and were escorted from a garage on Caroline Street to the pediatric center.
"There wasn't a time when you didn't see an officer on the street," Kevin Goldsmith said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Hermann contributed to this article.