Just one day before he was scheduled to testify before a grand jury in a case in which eight Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force police officers had been indicted for shaking down citizens and conspiring with drug dealers, a Baltimore police officer was shot and killed with his own service weapon.
Homicide detective Sean Suiter was informed by federal agents that he was not the target of an investigation, but that he would be testifying before the grand jury.
However, before he could testify, he was shot and killed while performing an investigation of a triple homicide that occurred just days before his death.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
[Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis] said that Suiter is believed to have been killed with his own service weapon, which was fired at close range, and that there was evidence of a struggle before the shooting.
Police have not identified a suspect or made arrests in Suiter’s shooting Nov. 15. Investigators locked the neighborhood down for several days after the shooting to gather evidence and interview potential witnesses. Authorities are offering a reward of $215,000 for information leading to an arrest.
Police say Suiter and a partner were conducting a follow-up investigation on a triple homicide in the 900 block of Bennett Place when he saw someone acting suspiciously in a vacant lot and approached. The 43-year-old detective, a married father of five, was shot once in the head.
He died the next day.
Davis described for the first time surveillance video of the scene. The footage shows Suiter’s partner seeking cover across the street. Davis backed his actions.
“Upon the sound of gunfire, Detective Suiter’s partner sought cover across the street,” Davis said, reading from a prepared statement. “He immediately called 911. We know this, because it is captured on private surveillance video that we have recovered.”
Davis also claims that there is no evidence that connects the shooting with Suiter’s testimony.
“The BPD and FBI do not possess any information that this incident … is part of any conspiracy,” Davis said. He said evidence shows the shooting occurred spontaneously, as Suiter investigated a suspicious person in the Harlem Park neighborhood.
Well, I’ve not seen the surveillance video, but there are several things that do come to mind here.
First, he was shot at close range with his own weapon. How did someone get his weapon? Why was the other officer not shot at all? I get that he took cover, but I’m simply asking a question.
Why have there been no arrests? Was the suspect caught on the surveillance video? Was the shooting of officer Suiter caught on the video?
Things just don’t happen to people like this by coincidence, do they? Does anyone really buy that the two things are not related?
In another report by The Baltimore Sun, “In the hours after the shooting, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the suspect was a black man wearing a black and white jacket. Police have not reiterated the description since then.”
Why is this information not being repeated? How did David know the suspect was black and wearing a black and white jacket?
Audio from police dispatch also indicates that they did not know where the shots were coming from.
The Sun adds:
The Gun Trace Task Force was entrusted with executing a key element of Davis’ strategy against the city’s historic surge in killing: getting illegal guns out of the hands of the trigger pullers who are driving the violence.
But a federal grand jury indicted eight task force members earlier this year on charges of racketeering and other violations, and authorities are continuing to investigate allegations related to the squad.
Four officers have pleaded guilty, and at least two of them are cooperating with authorities.
The other four members have pleaded not guilty. They are scheduled for trial in January.
Davis said he was told by federal prosecutors that Suiter was to testify in the case of the indicted officers in relation to an incident from several years ago. It was not clear whether his testimony would be helpful or harmful to the officers.
Following an autopsy on Suiter, David said that investigators returned to the lot where he was shot and discovered a piece of evidence.
“I’m very encouraged by the recovery of this evidence,” Davis said on Monday. “I think it’s going to help us identify the killer.”
However, he declined to elaborate on what was discovered.
We’ll see if any suspects are arrested.
Suiter, 43, was an 18-year veteran and left behind a wife and five children.
Police asked anyone with information to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100, the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.