BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Police Department on Thursday released the body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting from July 1.
Police officers shot and critically injured an armed 33-year-old man during a behavioral crisis call inside a home in the 5800 block of Falkirk Road around 3:25 a.m.
During a news conference Thursday morning, police said they were previously called to the area on June 20 when the same man was naked outside and firing a weapon at vehicles in the area.
Officers recovered a firearm at the time, but police did not have a fixed address for his residence and couldn’t go to his home and see if he had any other weapons at the time.
“Before we show you the footage, I want to make it very clear that we understand the high level of public scrutiny that results from any use of force from the Baltimore Police Department and while we understand and accept that, we are committed to conducting a thorough investigation into this incident,” Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said. “Currently the individual is listed in stable condition at a local hospital and while this is an unfortunate incident, we wish the individual and his family a speedy recovery.”
When officers arrived at the home on July 1, police spoke to the man’s mother-in-law, who linked him to the June 20 incident. She told police she didn’t know if he was armed at the time but that he was in the basement with her daughter.
The woman told police he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
The video shows officers enter the home. A man and woman can be heard talking in the basement.
The woman tells the man, “I’m trying to save your life.”
Once the officers enter the basement, they ask the woman to go upstairs.
During their interaction with the man, he keeps telling police they are trying to kill him and they keep telling him they won’t.
“I’m not trying to kill none of y’all,” the man says.
The police continue to try to talk to the man, but then he pulls out a weapon and points it in the officers’ direction.
That’s when shots are fired. Medics then enter to help the man with his wounds.
It’s unknown exactly how many rounds were fired, Harrison said during a press conference last week.
The man remains hospitalized. No officers were hurt.
“Over the past week, we’ve received numerous media inquiries and concerns about police versus a medic or police versus mental healthcare professionals responding to these types of incidents. Though I agree with much of the sentiments, it’s important that we put this incident into context with the realities of the safety of all those involved,” Harrison said. “Paramedics and EMTs did respond because they were dispatched and they did a safe scene assessment. At that time, they decided not to enter the residence and waited until police arrived due to the individual perhaps may have had a gun or it was unsure if the individual had a gun, based on the fact that he had one at the previous incident.”
All three officers involved in the shooting had undergone behavioral health training, Harrison said.
In the wake of the shooting, the ACLU asked the public to avoid calling the police on the mentally ill, saying in part that, “Baltimore’s over-dependence on police is setting them up to fail, and costing unnecessary lives.”
In a statement, City Council President Brandon Scott commended the officers for their attempts to de-escalate the situation.
“This incident is an illustration of how tense and sometimes dangerous the work of our police and first responders can be, especially when guns are involved. It also demonstrates how seriously we have to take the work of reimagining public health and safety in our city,” he said. “Having the tough conversations about how to provide proper behavioral healthcare will play a key role in reducing our dependence on BPD and will allow them to focus their work on reducing violence in Baltimore.”