Baltimore police fired 36 shots at armed man, bodycam recordings show
By LEA SKENE
BALTIMORE (AP) __ Four Baltimore police officers unleashed a barrage of deadly gunfire at a man who pointed a gun at them while fleeing last week, according to body-camera recordings released by the department Friday.
The officers fired three dozen shots, officials said during a press conference Friday afternoon at Baltimore police headquarters where they played the recordings and presented the department's view of them.
The shooting occurred Nov. 7, when officers on a District Action Team __ a squad focused on seizing illegal guns __ were proactively patrolling in southwest Baltimore. A man later identified as Hunter Jessup, 27, was killed during a short foot pursuit. The videos show him appear to fire his own weapon before he's struck by gunfire and falls to the sidewalk.
Officials said they haven't determined how many times Jessup was shot.
In the aftermath of the shooting, some community members questioned whether his death was necessary. They said officers on the department's specialized gun squads have a reputation for displaying overly aggressive behavior and escalating otherwise peaceful encounters, especially in that neighborhood.
But Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley has commended the officers' actions, saying they protected public safety in an area plagued by violence. He also said they yelled at Jessup multiple times to drop his weapon before opening fire.
"While it's an unfortunate incident, the investigation is still going on," he said, adding that officers will continue patrolling the area "to provide greater visibility and better response times with the goal of deterring and preventing violent crime."
Worley said police are trained to "shoot to incapacitate" whenever they encounter someone they consider "a threat of deadly violence," which often means continuing to shoot until the threat has passed. In this case, the officers fired 36 shots at Jessup, Worley said.
The entire interaction lasted less than a minute.
The videos show police in two vehicles talking with two men standing on a corner.
The men lift their shirts in response to a request from the officers, who saw a
"bulge" in Jessup's clothing, officials said. Off-camera, he takes off running.
By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023