BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Both of Maryland’s U.S. Senators along with three U.S. Representatives said in a joint statement they are “disappointed” in the FBI’s refusal to take over the investigation into the murder of Baltimore City Detective Sean Suiter.
“We were disappointed because clearly, we want justice in this case and we want to find out the circumstances of what happened, and the FBI can give additional resources,” Senator Ben Cardin told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren Friday.
“It is a matter of great frustration and a matter which is a high priority for us to get the answers and to hold anyone responsible accountable,” Cardin said.
Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, and John Sarbanes are among those signing on to the public statement regarding the FBI’s decision, which was made public earlier this week.
That statement reads in part: “While we appreciate the FBI contention that no evidence exists to suggest that Det. Suiter’s homicide was directly connected to the corruption probe in which he was to testify, the reality remains that little-to-no progress has been made in solving the homicide. This means that his family, colleagues and community still lack the peace of mind and sense of justice that would accompany a successful resolution of this investigation, underscoring that the full resources and attention of the federal government remain required to solve this case.”
Suiter was shot with his own weapon on Nov. 15 while investigating a gang-related triple murder in West Baltimore’s Harlem Park neighborhood. It happened one day before his scheduled testimony in a police corruption investigation. He was set to testify in the case of Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, who faces accusations of planting drugs on suspects and robbing citizens. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says the FBI’s letter shows Suiter was not killed because of that testimony.
The commissioner told WJZ previously he felt federal authorities were not telling the department all they knew about the federal police corruption investigation that has ensnared nine officers, which is what lead to Davis’ request to the FBI on December 1st. “What we have left is a murder committed by a yet-to-be-identified perpetrator,” Davis said at a press conference Wednesday. He said there is no evidence Suiter committed suicide.
In a letter rejecting the request to lead the investigation, Stephen Richardson, the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, never uses the word murder.
“…No information has been developed to indicate Detective Suiter’s death was directly connected to an FBI investigation,” Richardson wrote.
“For this reason, we believe it prudent for your office to continue as the lead in this investigation. …If we develop information that changes our assessment of the investigation, we will, of course, take appropriate action.”
He said the FBI will support and continue to assist in the BPD investigation.
Senator Cardin said, “I think this is one case that the FBI could be of help, and I hope they will be willing to come in if additional information comes forward.”