PERRY HALL, Md. (WJZ) — Lawyers for one of the teens accused of killing Baltimore County Officer Amy Caprio said he panicked and did not intentionally kill the officer.

Warren Brown and J. Wyndel Gordon, two prominent Baltimore area attorneys who announced they are representing 16-year-old Dawnta Harris pro bono, also want the officer’s body camera footage to be released so they can have all the information.

“He’s not a killer,” Brown said of Harris. “He panicked” when Caprio drew her gun.

RELATED: All Suspects In Balt. Co. Ofc. Amy Caprio’s Murder Charged As Adults

They said the teen was “ducking” in the Jeep when he tried to drive away, but instead, the Jeep struck and killed Caprio in the process.

Court documents state Harris told investigators he “drove at” Caprio.

Gordon said if Harris hadn’t ducked, the shot from Caprio’s gun would have killed him and “we’d be talking about an officer-involved shooting instead.”

“We want to know why Officer Caprio found it necessary to draw her weapon on a 16-year-old,” he said. “We want to know why she fired a shot into the front windshield.”

Timeline: Dawnta Harris Criminal History Leading Up To Killing Of Ofc. Amy Caprio

The lawyers said Harris, who they described as “puny” and a “boy” did not know the three other teens were allegedly burglarizing a home and was scared when he was confronted by the officer in the unit block of Linwen Way Monday.

Harris’ mother, Tanika Wilson, sobbed at the press conference Thursday, saying she tried to do everything she could to get her son back on the right track.

She said she called juvenile services and asked them to detain her son, “so nothing like this would happen.”

Wilson said her son was a regular 15-year-old until December when he was first arrested. That’s when things “took a turn.” He got into the wrong environment and wrong crowd, she said.

RELATED: Teen Accused Of Killing Baltimore Co. Officer Amy Caprio Arrested 4 Times In 6 Months

Harris had a rap sheet that included at least four stolen cars. The Jeep used to run down Caprio was also stolen, according to county police.

Wilson, a single mother, said she spent time walking the streets, knocking on doors, “fussing” with other parents and texting him to locate her son.

The Sunday before the incident, Wilson said she had a feeling she wanted to find her son.

“This situation is sad all the way around, a person has lost their life…” Wilson added through tears.

Harris’ mother, who has a four-year-old daughter, said she didn’t get much support from Harris’ father and she was on her own, but always tried to provide for her children.

“He know right from wrong. Don’t get me wrong, he know,” Wilson said, adding “our lives changed in a split second.”

She said it was the hardest thing for her to try to turn her own son in when he skipped out on house arrest.

“If I could have just found my son, she would still be here and my son would be here with me,” she said. “I’m truly sorry for the actions that my son did.”

“I don’t know what was in his mind at the time,” the teen’s mother cried. “I don’t know I wasn’t there.”

Caprio’s viewing will be held Thursday evening and her funeral will be on Friday.

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Comments (10)
  1. The hoodrat was a good boy was on his way to church as usual! Mr. attorney how about the hoodrat just giving up when he was caught???? You can paint a pretty picture he is named a “ONE MAN CRIME WAVE” LIFE IN PRISION HE WAS HE DESERVES> HIS FOR HERS!! THE MOTHER MAKES ME WANT TO PUKE! EXCUSES! EXCUSES! EXCUSES!

  2. OH MOMMY YOU FORGOT TO MENTION YOUR HOODRAT SON WAS ON HOME DETENTION BUT VIOLATED THAT INSTEAD WAS OUT COMMITING BURGLURY’S AND MURDERING A POLICE OFFICER, “HE IS A GOOD BOY”!! HE SHOULD THE DEATH PENALTY IF WE HAD ONE! YOU MAKE ME WANT TO PUKE WOMEN!!

  3. He told police, according to a report, that he did intentionally run her down. This person has already committed many crimes and yet is out on house arrest. Who let him get away with all of those crimes. Blame it on a bad crowd, but no one makes you get in with a bad crowd. The mother should grieve as the whole family of this young officer is doing right now. I hope he gets life without parole, but given his record of getting off, I wouldn’t hold my breath. His attorney is an A** hole for making up this defense when there were witnesses, who I hope aren’t too afraid to come forward at trial. This press conference is disgusting and they shouldn’t even be given media coverage to cry “poor me”.

  4. “He said that he partially opened his door, but then shut it and drove at Caprio.” I don’t call that ducking down and looking at the seat of the vehicle like the lawyer says. And why are two prominent attorneys defending this criminal pro bono?

  5. Mommy is a failure and Dawnta and his buddies are going to be pimped out in jail.

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