Reporting Mike Hellgren
RANDALLSTOWN, Md. (WJZ)– A 17-year-old dies after struggling with an off-duty police officer. His death was ruled a homicide.
Mike Hellgren has new reaction from the county executive and the teen’s pastor.
No weapons were involved in this. WJZ tried contacting the officer involved, but there was no answer at his door. The police union has not returned our calls but elected officials are calling for a full and fair investigation.
What really happened during Chris Brown’s final moments alive as he struggled with off-duty Baltimore County police officer James Laboard?
It’s a question at the heart of the growing outrage in Randallstown.
“What’s going through the man’s mind? Why he didn’t call for backup immediately? Why did he pursue a chase?” Brown’s relative Rhonda McNeil said.
“It’s unfortunate that Christopher is gone now and we have no answers. No answers,” Ceandra Scott, Brown’s relative, said.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz issued a statement to WJZ saying he had spoken to both the police chief and the state’s attorney.
Kamenetz said: “I am deeply saddened by the events. The ongoing investigation will shed light on exactly what transpired that night. I am confident that all of the facts will be evaluated objectively.”
Kamenetz also called Brown’s pastor.
“Overall, it’s like a hit in the gut and you’re trying to get a grip on really what’s happened,” Rev. Robert Anderson of the Colonial Baptist Church said.
Here’s what we do know: Police say Officer Laboard was at his home when someone threw something at his door. He saw several people running away and ran after them.
The chase wound through the neighborhood. Brown was killed a third of a mile from where it all started.
Police say Laboard eventually found Brown hiding in some bushes, pulled him out and after an altercation, the teen died.
The medical examiner ruled the death homicide by asphyxiation. No charges have been filed against Laboard.
“We just need some answers. I just want to know what was going through the man’s mind when he felt like he had to take matters into his own hands,” Scott said.
Laboard has been on the police force for about a decade. Police have not yet clarified what their policies are for officers when they are considered off-duty.
Laboard is on routine administrative leave with pay while the investigation is underway.