A developmentally disabled woman was fatally shot by Baltimore County police and her 5-year-old son was wounded in a shootout after a standoff that lasted several hours, authorities say.
Korryn Gaines, 23, of Randallstown, Maryland, was pronounced dead at the scene Monday, police said in a press release. Her son was shot in one of his extremities and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The boy was shot by a Baltimore County police tactical officer, police said in a press release Friday.
“As a result of an additional medical procedure performed today at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore County Police believe that a round fired by a tactical officer struck Kodi Gaines, the five-year-old who suffered non life-threatening injuries in Monday’s police-involved shooting in Randallstown,” police said. “Additional forensics tests will be conducted on the recovered round. The injury is to the left cheek.”
Police said Gaines was armed with a “long gun” and exchanged fire with officers after several hours of negotiations. Gaines was wanted on failure to appear warrants for an “array of traffic charges” stemming from a March 2016 traffic stop. The charges also included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Police were also serving a warrant on a man who lived with Gaines, Kareem Kiean Courtney, 39, who they say was wanted for assaulting Gaines during a previous domestic incident. He was taken into custody after fleeing from the apartment with a 1-year-old boy. He was charged with second-degree assault and released on his own recognizance, police said.
The officers involved in the shooting have not yet been identified publicly and the investigation into the shooting is “active” and “ongoing,” police said.
Gaines’ 5-year-old son, Kodi Gaines, remained hospitalized Tuesday in “good condition,” police said. Kodi talked about the shooting in videos recorded in the hospital by family members. You can watch that video here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say an Officer Opened Fire After Gaines Said ‘If You Don’t Leave, I’m Going to Kill You’
The officers included several “warrant squad members” and a uniformed officer, Police Chief Jim Johnson said at a press conference.
Police said the officers knocked on the door of the apartment and identified themselves as police. The department spokesperson described in the press release what they say happened next:
No one answered the door, but the officers heard the voices of a man and woman coming from inside the apartment, which they knew to be the address of the subjects. They also heard a child crying. After five to 10 minutes, one of the officers obtained a key to the apartment from the landlord and used it to open the door. The officer saw a woman sitting on the floor and pointing a long gun at him; this woman matched a photo of the woman sought in the warrant.
The officers retreated to the hallway outside the apartment and called for additional support. The male suspect ran from the apartment with a 1-year-old boy — one of two children in in the apartment with the couple — and was apprehended by police. The armed woman remained inside with the 5-year-old boy, and a barricade situation began at about 9:40 a.m. and continued throughout the afternoon. The apartment building was evacuated to protect the safety of the other residents.
Johnson said the officers repeatedly identified themselves as police. SWAT and other specialty officers were also called to the scene.
Police negotiators talked to Gaines during the barricade, encouraging her to “surrender peacefully,” according to the release.
“She refused and pointed the long gun at tactical officers several times. There was a clear line of sight from where the officers were staged in the hallway through the open door to where Gaines was positioned inside the apartment,” police said.
Johnson said his officers showed “great restraint during this dialogue.”
Police said that “during the barricade, tactical officers were staged just outside the open door of Gaines’ apartment. They took cover behind the walls on either side of the door, but were visible to Gaines at various times throughout the encounter. Likewise, during the barricade Gaines remained mostly in areas of the apartment where she was visible to the officers.”
She talked to negotiators face to face and by phone.
“They encouraged her to stay on the phone throughout the event. The Hostage Negotiation Team describes her demeanor as ‘up and down.’ She was extremely excitable at times, calm at others; and there were periods of silence. She became angry and irritated as the afternoon wore on and finally hung up on police,” according to a press release.
At 3 p.m., after several hours of negotiations, police said Gaines pointed her weapon “directly at a tactical officer,” and told him, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to kill you.”
An officer,”fearing for the officers’ lives” opened fire, police said. Gaines returned fire, according to police. She shot twice, but did not hit any of the officers, police said. Officers fired again, and Gaines was shot multiple times. She died at the scene.
Her 5-year-old son was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries, but is expected to survive. Police have now said the boy was shot by an officer, but are still investigating the details of the shooting.
Gaines’ boyfriend and the 1-year-old boy were not hurt.
Detectives obtained a warrant charging Gaines with first-degree assault for pointing the gun at the first three officers who arrived at the apartment to serve the warrants, according to police. If she had survived the incident, she would have been taken into custody on that charge.
Police said the gun was purchased legally by Gaines. They described it as a “Mossberg 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun. Homicide detectives have documentation proving that Gaines purchased the gun last year.”
She posted a video on Instagram a week before the shooting showing her with the gun:
“Gotta thank my dad for teaching me how to protect myself (cells) …nd i gotta thank myself (cells) for teaching me who i need protection from,” she said in the post. “Hope they sending in clones?im waiting tho. They threw me a charge too late, got my “Big Girl” September of last year. Legit w/papers. Thought i was gon have to take out a n*gga nd realized i had a bigger problem. F*ck it Let’s dance, i got some rhythm.?”
Read more about Korryn Gaines in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com:
2. Police Asked Facebook to Shut Down Her Social Media Pages as She Recorded Video During the Standoff
A video posted by Korryn Gaines to Instagram shows her talking with her 5-year-old son just before she was shot. In the video, which you can watch below, Gaines asks the boy who is outside, and he replies, “the police.” As officers can be heard in the background, Gaines asks her son, “and what are they trying to do?” He says, “they’re trying to kill us.”
She then asks him if he wants to go “out there,” and he says “no,” before the video ends.
A second video appears to show SWAT officers outside her door. It is not clear at what point during the incident the video was recorded:
— TheCultureSupplier (@CultureSupplier) August 2, 2016
Family and friends have said on social media that Gaines’ social media profiles, including a Facebook profile and an Instagram account, were deleted just before she was fatally shot.
Police confirmed at a Tuesday press conference that they requested Facebook deactivate the accounts during the standoff, because Gaines was posting videos from inside the apartment. Facebook accepted the request. The accounts were not deleted and the data was retained as evidence, officials said. Police said they made the request to remove distractions while police negotiators were talking with her.
Her friends have also said on Twitter that Gaines posted videos to the pages during the hours she was in the standoff with police.
Some had accused police of deleting the pages and videos in the hours after the shooting:
Police explained the process of how the accounts were taken down in a statement:
On-scene command staff filed a request with Facebook during the barricade to deactivate Gaines’ Facebook and Instagram accounts in order to preserve the integrity of negotiations with her and for the safety of Gaines, her child and officers. Gaines was posting video of the operation, and followers were encouraging her not to comply with negotiators’ requests that she surrender peacefully. This was a serious concern; successful negotiations often depend on the negotiators’ ability to converse directly with the subject, without interference or distraction during extremely volatile conditions.
The content on Gaines’ social media accounts has not been deleted. BCoPD has filed a request with Facebook to preserve this content as evidence. A search warrant will be obtained to obtain these records.
Law enforcement officials do not have the ability or authority to deactivate social media accounts on their own. Facebook maintains a law enforcement portal through which police request assistance. This portal includes an “exigency” option for emergency situations like the one yesterday. BCoPD applied for the exigency deactivation because of a barricade situation involving an armed subject with a child.
Facebook evaluates law enforcement requests and determines what action will be taken. It took nearly an hour after BCoPD contacted Facebook for Gaines’ accounts to be taken off line.
3. She Recorded a Video During the Traffic Stop That Led to Her Arrest in March & Previously Complained About ‘Police Harassment’
Gaines was wanted on a “failure to appear” bench warrant, police said. According to the press release, she did not appear in court on an “array of traffic charges” stemming from a March 2016 traffic stop. The charges included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Police said the man who was in the apartment, Kareem Kiean Courtney, was wanted for assault stemming from a domestic incident. Gaines was the victim in that assault, police said.
According to Maryland court records, Gaines was was stopped on March 11 in Catonsville by Baltimore County Police. She was charged with several traffic violations, including operating an unregistered motor vehicle, driving without current tags, driving an uninsured vehicle, failure to display registration card on demand and driving a vehicle on a highway with a suspended registration.
She was also charged with resisting/interfering with arrest, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and littering, all misdemeanors.
She posted several videos to Instagram from her traffic stop in March.
She posted several videos in March during the traffic stop that led to her arrest. Police said the videos showed her “anti-government views.”
“Officers stopped Gaines’ silver Toyota Camry because it had no license plate — only a rectangular piece of cardboard with the following writing on it: ‘Any government official who compromises this pursuit to happiness and right to travel, will be held criminally responsible and fined, as this is a natural right to freedom,'” police said. “Gaines resisted arrest, throwing the citations issued by the officer out the window and saying officers would have to “murder” her before she got out of the vehicle. She engaged officers in a physical fight as they tried to remove her from the vehicle.”
In the video, she can be seen talking with officers and her son. She is eventually dragged out of the car as her son records the incident on her phone. In the caption on the first video, which she posted in short segments, she wrote:
On March 10th at 4:05pm , at this point in time me daughter’s dad had been held hostage for 8+months and i had to go thru drastic measures to have him freed. After it was said nd done,my cell phones were disconnected and my license plates were stolen off of my car. I put a tag on my car to warn that if any government official further tried to compromise my traveling rights that they would be held accountable. This note remained for about 4 weeks with no harassment from the police who i live directly across from. This was the day they orchestrated my kidnapping.
In another caption she appeared to express beliefs similar to sovereign citizens, who believe that state and federal laws do not apply to them:
Constitutional Law is the only true law. In order to be granted the role as Law enforcement u must take an oath to uphold the Constitution and be granted a DOAO DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY ORDER. The police are not Law enforcement they are Policy enforcers and operate outside of the laws of the Constitution which would make them organized criminals. They enforce CORPORATE Law (to generate revenue,in others words to get money,however in this case they know that i know this nd this is them making trouble with me) which is not a true form of the law but so many of us have bended to their criminal ways. Not me.
She said she asked to be let go and was “being held against my will and under duress.” She also said, “They accused me of being irrate and belligerent.”
At one point during the video she can be heard telling her son that the police want to kill them, and references videos showing police killing men who “look like his dad.”
You can watch the full video below:
She then posted a photo showing the charges against her and described the time she spent in jail:
After 2 days in isolation and being starved nd with no water and my prints being COURT ORDERED to prove i was under duress (which the court order was stolen and i have proof of that as well via video) being denied phone calls AND being diagnosed with pregnancy AND a miscarriage i requested a medic for the second time which i was able to alert her and tell her i was a hostage and being denied my basic constitutional rights and she was on it. On my consent forms in the ER i had to write “Please help me” on the line without the kidnapper that traveled with me seeing. They all were very helpful and when i left the ER at 130 am March 12th i was taken pass the precinct where some of my stuff was handed to the transporter thru the window (i was never asked to sign my belongings in or out) and i was taken to see a commisioner where i was set free. As u can see this all stemmed from traffic, none of the traffic items holds jail time, but they conveniently have resisting arrest at the top but there is no reason on this document for an arrest. I was supposed to leave with fines not with bruises and definitely not in their custody to spend for 2 days and more if i had not been smart enough to realize i was a hostage from the very beginning of the traffic stop. They told my family i fought them which i didn’t all i asked them to do was not to touch me. And snatched away my arms. I hit no one hence the reason for no assault charges. They literally put this bullshit in black ink on white paper. Smh
Police released the arrest reports from that incident, which you can read below:
On July 13, she was charged with failure to appear in court and a warrant for her arrest was issued.
Gaines had no major criminal record. She was cited in June 2015 for confining an unattended child, a misdemeanor violation. She was pleaded guilty in September 2015 and was fined $42.50, along with court costs, and put on unsupervised probation for one day. According to Maryland law, a person is charged with that violation when a child under the age of 8 is locked or confined in a home or motor vehicle while the parent is absent and out of sight without any supervision.
Those who knew Gaines said she had previously posted videos claiming she was being harassed by police:
Police did not comment on those allegations. She also said she had an open lawsuit and complaint against the department.
Another video showed Gaines going to a Baltimore County Police Department station to talk about the arrest in April. You can watch that video below:
A police spokeswoman said she did not know if the officers who went to serve the warrant knew of her history of anti-government statements before they arrived.
4. Gaines Was Exposed to a ‘Sea of Lead’ as a Child & Was Developmentally Disabled as a Result, Court Documents Show
Gaines was the mother of two children, including the 5-year-old boy wounded during the incident, family members said on Twitter. She also had a young daughter.
According to a Linkedin profile, Gaines worked as a hair stylist.
Gaines was exposed to a “sea of lead” as a child and suffered developmental disabilities and brain damage as a result of the lead poisoning, according to court documents obtained by WBAL-TV.
She graduated from Baltimore City College in 2010.
Her uncle, Jerome Barnett, told the Baltimore Sun she was “feisty, but she was smart and she was respectful. My niece is a good person; I never knew her to be a rowdy person.”
Another uncle, Jerome’s twin brother, Jermaine, told the Sun she was a “beautiful person, really smart, intellectual. I’m in a surreal state of mind right now. She was loved by everybody — I’m going to miss her and I love her.”
Police would not confirm if she had a history of mental health issues, but said negotiators did talk with mental health professionals during the standoff.
5. A Vigil Is Scheduled for Friday Night in Baltimore While Police Continue to Investigate
A vigil has been scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. at Baltimore City College, Baltimore BLOC, a local community organization, said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the shooting is continuing.
The officers have been placed on administrative leave. Their names will not be released for “approximately 48 hours” in accordance with the department’s contract with the police union. The officers have not yet given statements.
The officers were not wearing body cameras, police said.
“BCoPD’s camera program is weeks old, and few officers have been assigned cameras at this early stage of the program,” police said in the release.
Gaines is the third person shot by Baltimore County Police officers this year and the first fatality.