ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The firing of Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts came as a surprise to Maryland’s governor.

Less than 24-hours after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced her decision to dismiss the head of the city’s police force, Gov. Larry Hogan said the news came as a shock, but the action was a local one and had nothing to do with the state government.

Rawlings-Blake said her decision to remove Batts was a difficult one, but the city’s rising homicide rate in the wake of rioting after the death of Freddie Gray signaled a need for change.

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Hogan said he worked closely with Batts during those tumultuous weeks in April, and called him a dedicated man who cared about his job.

Deputy Police Commission Kevin Davis has assumed the role of interim commissioner.

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