A video that appears to capture the Baltimore police shooting of a suspect who shot at an officer the day before captures the sounds of numerous gunshots and chaos on the streets. Be forewarned that the video, which you can watch later in this article, contains graphic language.
The video was posted on Twitter on August 29, 2019 by Vanessa Herring, a reporter at WBAL-TV. “This video appears to show the police involved shooting. You can [hear] many, many shots,” she wrote, later adding, “@BaltimorePolice Commissioner Michael Harrison says he has not seen this video and it’s not clear if the suspect fired any shots.” Harrison did not dispute the authenticity of the video, however. The Baltimore Sun also ran the video in a story on the shooting.
It all stemmed from an incredibly chaotic two days in Baltimore, as the commissioner said in a news conference that the suspect, who was not named, was the same person who shot at and tried to run over police officers the day before, on August 27, 2019. There were two locations on August 28, 2019 where officers encountered and fired weapons at the suspect, said the commissioner.
“This is an armed and dangerous person,” Harrison said. “It’s very brazen…I’m concerned about every single member of our department.”
This is the video that was posted on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Police Commissioner Says It’s Not Clear How Many Officers Fired
Police Commissioner Harrison said in an early morning press conference that, around 11 p.m. on August 28, 2019, officers who were in the area because of a shift of resources to combat crime spotted the vehicle believed to be the same person “who tried to hit one of our officers last night and then shot at another officer last night.”
First, here’s what happened the night before. On August 27, 2019, at 1:15 a.m., the commissioner said a patrol officer was conducting a vehicle stop. The driver of another vehicle, a black male driving a silver SUV, tried to strike the officer with his vehicle and then fled the location, the commissioner said.
The vague description was disseminated to other officers to be on the look out. A short time later, another patrol officer spotted the vehicle sitting in an intersection. As the officer approached, the driver exited the vehicle and without warning “began firing at the officer at his patrol car,” said Harrison.
The officer was able to back away from the suspect and avoid being hit by gunfire.
There was a vehicle pursuit, but it became “more dangerous for police and citizens” so officers ended the pursuit. Officers were not injured.
The police union was critical of the decision to end that pursuit. “How out of control has Baltimore become when criminals walk up on a uniformed officer, in a marked patrol car, and fire shots at the officer. Then there is a vehicle pursuit of the suspect and the pursuit is called off by BPD command…” the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police president said to journalist Jessica Anderson.
Fast forward to August 28. At Fayette and North Caroline, “there was an encounter where our officers engaged that subject who we believe to be armed,” the police commissioner said. “There was gunfire from our officers at that intersection tonight. We believe that subject was out of the car. Got back into the car. Drove as we followed. Went to a second location a block away where again there was another encounter between our officers and this subject. Our officers fired again…one of our officers was hit, shot in the leg, and is in good condition.”
He said he had spoken to the officer. “At the second location, multiple officers fired weapons…that subject was in fact armed. There is a gun on the scene that we are recovering.” He said it wasn’t clear how many officers fired or how many rounds were fired as the investigation is underway.
“This subject was identified as the subject from last night,” the commissioner reiterated. Warrants were acquired. “We fired at that subject” at the first location, he repeated. At the second location, the subject was taken to the hospital, where he died. He was “fatally wounded.” There is a lot of video to watch, he said.
At the corner of Fayette and Caroline, there was a female civilian at that corner who was injured. “We do not know if it was by gunfire” or shrapnel, Harrison said. She is in good condition.
Asked about the video, he said, “We have not been able to watch that… we have not seen that.” Harrison said there was also body cam video that police were watching.
He said he didn’t know whether the suspect had fired a gun. He repeated that the suspect “was armed,” and police fired their weapons. There were “upwards of 10 officers who were involved,” the chief said.