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Fallen Officer Honored By Family & Friends

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore City police officer was shot and killed by his fellow officers amid a flurry of chaos outside a local nightclub.  Tuesday night, family, friends and colleagues remembered the fallen officer.

Kai Jackson has more on the emotional vigil.

City police are keeping details of their investigation close to the vest, but those in the neighborhood where fallen officer William Torbit Jr. worked are vocal in their support for him.

On a cold, snowy night, the warmth of love was felt at a candlelight vigil for Torbit in the West Baltimore neighborhood where he patrolled.

“He put people first,” said his cousin, Tim Massey.

Some of the victims’ family members are demanding answers, but it appears they’re going to have to wait for a completed police investigation.

City police detectives are still canvassing the neighborhood along Paca and Franklin streets, trying to find more witnesses to the Sunday shootings that left two people dead, including 33-year-old city police officer William Torbit, who was on-duty but not in uniform.  Police say five city officers fired a total of 41 shots as they tried to break up a fight outside of the Select Lounge nightclub.

The mayor is promising complete accuracy.

“We’re doing a thorough investigation internally and I welcome an external review.  We need to get to the bottom of the situation for everyone’s sake,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

At the Select Lounge, managers and owners won’t comment.  Their attorney says, “Until more information becomes available, it is our hope that no conclusion will be drawn or judgment made about Select Lounge, especially since the incident took place outside of Select Lounge.”

One resident of the Ravenwood Nursing Home and Rehab Center could see from his fourth floor room everything that happened in the parking lot.  Right as we were about to interview him, detectives stopped us so that they could interview him themselves.

Sean Gamble, a 22-year-old father, fiance and semi-professional football player, also died in the melee.  He was memorialized at a candlelight vigil in Woodlawn Monday by hundreds of friends and family demanding justice.

“This is not just going to be washed over like it didn’t happen because it did and it hurts all of us,” said family friend Nadine Williams Holmes.

“I think Commissioner Bealefeld is doing the right thing by waiting several more weeks to release any more information,” said public safety expert Rob Weinhold.

Weinhold says the volume of evidence and testimony from dozens of witnesses needs to be sorted carefully by detectives.

“So that ultimately when the police department releases information, it is credible and based on fact and not speculation,” Weinhold said.

Autopsies on the two victims have been completed, but police say they are still waiting for reports from the medical examiner’s office.

The shootings injured four other people, including another Baltimore City police officer, who was shot in the foot.  All of those victims are expected to recover.

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