BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Police have identified the officer involved in the Tuesday shooting in West Baltimore.
Police say the officer who shot “violent, repeat offender” Richard Gibbs is 24-year old Officer Jeffrey Melo.
Gibbs brandished a weapon after Officer Melo pulled Gibbs over for an obscured license plate and called for backup as a precaution. Melo shot Gibbs in the shoulder after a scuffle once he saw the weapon.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, BPD Commissioner Kevin Davis said that the officer involved was ” relatively still new to the police department.”
However, Davis added that the officer was indeed following protocol, “he was doing exactly what we ask him and other members of the police department to do,”
And that is, to be “proactively be present in areas where we are routinely struck by violence and engage in the crime fight,” said Davis.
When backup arrived, multiple officers approached the vehicle. Gibbs opened his door, but stayed inside the car, according to Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith.
As officers asked him to exit the vehicle, Gibbs produced a spraypainted, loaded revolver.
One of the officers saw the gun and yelled out, at which point Gibbs exited the car and there “was a very brief struggle.”
Police say Officer Melo made an unsuccessful attempt to get the gun away from Gibbs, and then fired off a round, striking Gibbs in his right shoulder.
“Officers were confronted with that situation and had a very short period of time to make a decision and that decision was he had to pull the trigger to certainly prevent himself from harm,” said Smith.
Smith says Gibbs is violent, repeat offender. Online court documents show he’s had deadly weapon charges in the past, along with attempted murder, and assault.
“He’s a prohibited gun carrier. He’s one of many people who’ve been afforded suspended sentences,” said Commissioner Davis.
Gibbs is now in stable condition and is expected to survive.
He is being charged with handgun violations, second-degree assault, felony possession of a firearm and driving on a suspended license. He is still hospitalized and police say a warrant will be served, as soon as he’s released.
None of the officers involved was wearing a body camera.
Officer has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since 2015 and is currently assigned to the Western District. He has not been involved in any prior officer involved shootings. He has been placed on routine leave.