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Family Of Man Who Killed Himself In Police Custody Speaks Out

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Tyree Woodson
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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Many questions remain after Baltimore City police say a wanted criminal shot himself while in their custody. The suspect’s family is speaking out.

Rochelle Ritchie spoke with the family of Tyree Woodson.

It’s a very bizarre case that has many wondering how could a man considered so violent by police be able to conceal a high caliber weapon and be transported to jail without it being detected. The incident is under investigation as the family of the suspect cry foul and city officials call for a thorough review.

How could it happen? It’s a question city leaders are asking after Baltimore City police say Tyree Woodson shot himself in the restroom of the southwestern district police station after being brought in on warrants for attempted murder and weapons violations.

“Things don’t seem quite right here,” said Councilman Carl Stokes. “This person could have a gun, a high caliber gun, that could be used against other officers and then he allegedly kills himself.”

The mother of Woodson spoke to WJZ, saying she believes there is more to the story.

“My son didn’t shoot himself,” his mother, Verdessa McDougald, said. “I know he didn’t shoot himself.”

Baltimore City police call Woodson a violent criminal and gang member who was brought to the station on open warrants. He was placed in a holding cell for several hours before being escorted to use the restroom.

“The individual went into one of the stalls at which time a round was fired from within the stall,” said Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez.

Police say Woodson used a weapon he had concealed to shoot himself.

“If he is in their custody and they allow him to go to the bathroom and they didn’t check him, they need to be held accountable,” said his sister, Sandra McDougald.

There are no metal detectors at the station but there are standard procedures in place when transporting a suspect.

“It is imperative for the officers’ safety and for the safety of the individual that we pat them down and make sure they don’t have any weapons,” Rodriguez said.

Woodson’s family acknowledges he had been in trouble with the law before but say if he was such a violent person, the first step would be searching him.

“When you locked up, they frisk so they did not frisk him if they say he had a gun and shot himself,” Verdessa McDougald said.

Police say they are looking into whether arresting officers acted accordingly when taking Woodson into custody.

No officers were injured during the shooting.

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