Reporting Meghan McCorkell
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Officer indicted. The Baltimore City training officer who shot a police recruit will face the possibility of time behind bars. Now, for the first time, we’re learning new details about the kind of injuries that trainee sustained.
Meghan McCorkell has the latest details on this developing story.
A grand jury has indicted Officer William Scott Kern on second-degree assault and reckless endangerment after he mistakenly shot a police trainee.
Sources say Kern mistook his service weapon for a training weapon and shot police recruit Raymond Gray through a window, hitting him in the forehead.
Gray’s attorney says his client lost his left eye and doesn’t remember the shooting, but is making a remarkable recovery.
“He’s talking. He’s been talking with comprehension but now he’s holding conversations. He’s walking,” said Dwight Pettit.
A WJZ investigation into the shooting at the old Rosewood Center uncovered numerous policies were not followed, including having a live weapon at a training simulation.
The incident caused the police commissioner to shut down all officer training activities for a week.
Kern, an 18-year veteran of the force, now faces a maximum of 10 years behind bars for second-degree assault and another five years for reckless endangerment.
In a statement, Kern’s lawyer said:
“First and foremost, Officer Kern expresses his deepest sympathies to Officer Raymond Gray and his family. Officer Kern’s primary concern has been, and will continue to be, the health and speedy recovery of Officer Gray, and we ask the citizens to keep him in their thoughts and prayers.
Despite the grand jury’s decision, we are not dealing with a crime: we are dealing with a tragic accident. We will await our day in court to vindicate this good man.”
Legal expert Byron Warnken says the officer may avoid jail time.
“He winds up getting a sentence, he winds up getting the sentence suspended, he gets placed on supervised probation and he gets terminated from the police force. That would be my best guess,” Warnken, www.warnkenlaw.com, said.
Kern has been released on bail.
In a new statement, Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said:
“This indictment moves us one step forward in this painful but necessary process. As Police Officer Trainee Gray and his family continue along the path of healing, so too, do the officers and trainees of the Baltimore Police Department.
We continue to cooperate with all outside agencies involved in this extensive investigation. Meanwhile, as we come to grips with this terrible incident, our own comprehensive evaluation of our policies and procedures and internal investigations are ongoing.
When we fall short, we will not only hold ourselves accountable, but will take the necessary time, care and caution required to restore the public’s confidence in our department.”
Gray’s attorney plans to file a civil lawsuit in the next 30 days against the police department and the commissioner’s office. Others may also be named in the suit.
Gray was a recruit from the University of Maryland Baltimore.