BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An “unprecedented number of threats” have been made against the Baltimore County Police Department after the fatal shooting of Korryn Gaines on Monday.
As such, Chief Jim Johnson has opted not to identify the officer who fired the deadly shot during the Randallstown incident, even though the department’s standard procedure is to release the names of officers involved in shootings about 48 hours after the incident.
Police also cited “the current national climate” and “Gaines’ ideology, consistent with anti-government sentiment,” as factors in their decision to withhold the name.
“She [Gaines] identified and behaved as a ‘free person’ who does not recognize governmental authority,” the release states.
The officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, also standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.
Investigators say the officers responded to a home in the unit block of Sulky Court on Monday around 9:20 a.m. to serve arrest warrants for 23-year-old Gaines and her boyfriend, 39-year-old Kareem Kiean Courtney.
The arrest warrant for Gaines stemmed from a traffic stop that occurred back in March when she was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Police were also serving an arrest warrant for Courtney on second degree assault charges.
Upon arrival to the home, police say three officers knocked on the door of the residence but no one answered. Minutes later, after overhearing the voices of a man and woman and a child’s cries coming from inside, officers opened the door using a key obtained from the landlord.
During a new conference on Tuesday, Johnson said officers could see Gaines sitting on the floor with a child nearby. Johnson says Gaines immediately began wielding a 12-gauge shotgun around, bringing it into the ready position and directing at the officers.
Three officers then retreated to the hallway outside and called for backup, according to police.
Johnson says tactical teams surrounded the home and negotiations began with Gaines around 9:40 a.m.
Minutes later, 39-year-old Kareem Courtney ran out of the home with a 1-year-old boy and was immediately apprehended. He was arrested on a warrant for second degree assault and was later released.
During the 7-hour stand-off, police say Gaines used social media to broadcast the ongoing situation.
There is some controversy surrounding the fact that police asked Facebook to deactivate her accounts and remove those videos, but they say her followers were encouraging her not to comply with requests that she surrender peacefully.
At approximately 4 p.m., officers again attempted to negotiate with Gaines — who was still with her 5-year-old son — into surrendering, but police say she refused and pointed the gun at officers multiple times, even threatening to kill them saying, “”If you don’t leave, I’m going to kill you.”
Johnson says it was at this point that a tactical officer discharged one round toward Gaines, but police do not know if she was struck.
Gaines then returned fire, but no officers were struck.
Officers then fired back, hitting and killing Gaines. When officers went to render aid, they noticed that the 5-year-old boy, Gaines’s son Kodi, was also struck.
According to an update on the case released by police Thursday, they still do not know whether the boy “was struck by a round and/or shrapnel from the officer’s weapon or Gaines’ Mossberg shotgun.”
The update also said that, after consultation with the State’s Attorney and law enforcement attorneys, the department “has confirmed that the legal requirements for entry to serve an arrest warrant were met,” and that there was no body camera footage filmed from inside the apartment.
“BCoPD’s body camera program is less than a month old, and only about 40 of the 1,900 officers in the agency currently are equipped with them,” the release said. There is, however, body camera footage from several officers assigned to support roles on the outside perimeter of the incident, but it is part of the investigation and will not be released at this time.
There are also no audiotapes of the negotiations, police say.
“In Maryland, the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 10-402 of the Annotated Code allows recording only in hostage situations. The child, Kodi Gaines, was not a hostage in this incident; the FBI defines “hostage” as a person held to fulfill a demand, and a threat of harm unless the demand is met.”