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Baltimore County Police and Fire News

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Keyword: chief jim johnson

Update, August 5, 5 p.m.:

As a result of an additional medical procedure performed today at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore County Police believe that a round fired by a tactical officer struck Kodi Gaines, the five-year-old who suffered non life-threatening injuries in Monday’s police-involved shooting in Randallstown.

Police confirm that the officer aimed at and struck Korryn Gaines, 23, the boy’s mother, after she aimed her Mossberg shotgun at him and threatened to kill him.

Additional forensics tests will be conducted on the recovered round.

The injury from which the round was recovered is to the boy's left cheek and is consistent with BCoPD's previous confirmation that he suffered a wound to an extremity and shrapnel wounds to the upper body.

The investigation is active and ongoing. No further information is available at this time. Additional information will be provided as it become available.

Original release, August 4:


The investigation of the August 1 Korryn Gaines shooting in Randallstown continues. The Homicide Unit conducts an independent criminal investigation of all police-involved shootings; that investigation is in progress. An administrative review -- conducted for all police-involved shootings -- also remains  in progress.

After those investigations are complete, the case will be turned over to the Office of the State's Attorney for review. BCoPD's Shooting Review Board, which reviews all police-involved shootings, will examine the case for compliance with agency standards.

BCoPD offers the following updates:

  • Police Chief Jim Johnson has decided that -- because of serious safety concerns -- the department will not at this time release the name of the officer who fatally shot Gaines. BCoPD has received an unprecedented number of threats against police, including threats and actions against specific officers and officials.

    Gaines' ideology, consistent with anti-government sentiment, is also a concern. While Gaines does not appear to have been actively  affiliated with any specific anti-government group, she identified and behaved as a "free person" who does not recognize governmental authority.

    Johnson said the current national climate is a third significant factor in his decision to withhold the officer's name at this time. The recent Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings, he said, show that "lone wolf" attacks by people emotionally caught up in current events are a real possibility. "We constantly balance the need for transparency with the need to protect investigations and safety. This is a situation where I feel we must err on the side of safety."

    BCoPD's standard procedure is to release the names of officers involved in shootings about 48 hours after the incident. This complies with terms of an agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4, which specifies the delay to give officers and their families times to cope with the situation.
  • BCoPD has not yet determined whether the five-year-old, Kodi Gaines, was struck by a round and/or shrapnel from the officer's weapon or Gaines' Mossberg shotgun. They have not yet determined where the child was at the time of the shooting. These issues remain under investigation. This information will be provided when it becomes available.
  • Chief Johnson has completed a legal review of the entry by warrant service officers into Gaines' apartment in the unit block of Sulky Court. After consultation the State's Attorney and law enforcement attorneys, BCoPD has confirmed that the legal requirements for entry to serve an arrest warrant were met.
  • After multiple reviews, BCoPD has confirmed that there is no body camera footage filmed from inside the apartment or apartment building. (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.) There is body camera footage from several officers assigned to support roles on the outside perimeter of the incident. This footage is part of the investigation and will not be released at this time.
  •  There are no audiotapes of the negotiations with Gaines.  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. Though Kodi Gaines was not a hostage, police were concerned for his safety because of his mother's unusual erratic behavior; i.e., engaging police in an armed barricade with a five-year-old at her side and wielding a firearm in the vicinity of the child.

A statement regarding firearms and the murder of five Dallas police officers has been issued by the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence. Baltimore County Chief of Police Jim Johnson is chair of the Partnerhsip.

This is the statement in its entirety:

"The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence deeply mourns the loss of four Dallas Police Department Officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Officer, who were deliberately targeted for assassination today [July 7, 2016] by a deranged and cowardly group of individuals who were intent on killing law enforcement officers. We send our deepest condolences to the families of these brave fallen officers and to the officers and families of those who were shot and survived. Our thoughts are also with the citizens of Dallas, Texas and with this great Nation as we all share in the loss of these heroes.

Our coalition of nine national law enforcement leadership organizations has long expressed our concern over the devastating toll of violence in our communities and in violence directed towards law enforcement. Those who encourage and call for violence against law enforcement are equally as guilty as those who commit such violence and do nothing to promote the kind of mutual trust and cooperation that is needed to ensure that every American can feel safe within their communities.

Law enforcement officers put their own lives on the line to protect others, but the prevalence of gun violence across our nation is making these jobs increasingly more dangerous. Here are some of the disturbing facts:

  • Firearm fatalities among law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty have risen sharply this year, up 44 percent over the same time last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
  • Gunfire was the leading cause of officer line of duty deaths in 2014, as it has been since 2009, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
  •  An increasing proportion of police murders have been classified as ambushes. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, between 1990 and 2000, police murders that were attributable to ambush assaults was about 12 percent; from 2001 to 2012, that figure was 21 percent.
  •  Firearms were responsible for 93 percent of homicides of law enforcement officers between 1996 and 2010, according to a 2013 Johns Hopkins study.

 Gun deaths among all Americans have been on the rise over the 15 years, going from an average of 79 per day in 2002, to 92 a day in 2014 -- the last year for which data is publicly available, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence has stressed the need – as a public safety imperative – for improved responses to these senseless acts of violence and will remain committed to pursuing these improvements and calling attention to their need as we are doing today

We owe it to the heroes lost and injured today and to all of America’s law enforcement officers to do all we can to make our communities safer and to unite in support of one another, regardless of the color of our skin, how we worship, who we love or the uniform we wear. Dallas Chief of Police David Brown asked for our support and today, we pledge our support to the Dallas and DART Police Departments, to law enforcement nationwide, and to those in our communities who are far too often victimized by gun violence."

Today is Police Memorial Day, the annual remembrance of the nine Baltimore County Police Department's who died in the line of duty, as well as department members who died while in police service.

BCoPD's fallen officers are: Officer Edward Kuznar (d. 1969); Officer Charles A. Huckeba (d. 1977); Corporal Samuel L. Snyder (d. 1983); Officer Robert W. Zimmerman (d. 1986); Sergeant Bruce A. Prothero (d. 2000); Officer John W. Stem Sr. (d. 2000); Sergeant Mark F. Parry (d. 2002); Lieutenant Michael  P. Howe (d. 2008); and Officer Jason L. Schneider (d. 2013).

The ceremony, usually held at Patriot Plaza in Towson, was moved due to inclement weather to the County Council chambers at the Historic Courthouse in Towson. Here is the text of Police Chief Jim Johnson' remarks:

Good morning, fellow officers, honored guests and citizens of Baltimore County. Thank you for taking the time to be with us as we observe our annual Police Memorial Day. This is an occasion to remember the nine Baltimore County Police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty and, in so doing, to contemplate the meaning of the work that we do.

I do not need to tell you that all across this nation law enforcement finds itself beset by turmoil, controversy and danger. Here in Maryland, police over the past 12 months have been touched by all three.

The turmoil from the 2015 unrest in Baltimore City – felt keenly here and the other counties touching Baltimore -- carried over into the New Year and has yet to see resolution in the courts and in the court of public opinion.

The controversy spawned by the Freddie Gray incident and by contentious incidents in other towns, cities and states continues to dominate headlines, foment divisions and cast an unrelenting spotlight on our mission, methods and motives.

Police work is inherently dangerous. The danger is not – as some critics of law enforcement contend – a myth. Police have not invented a threat in order to avoid a conversation about accountability. We understand fully the need to explain and defend the use of the powers entrusted to us, and to confront errors and wrongdoing on our part. We are not imagining that the times have produced anger and resentment over everything from economic and racial injustice to mental health issues and the perceived failure of institutions. All of this has morphed into a feeling of disdain for governmental authority in general and of contempt for police in particular.

While most Americans respect police and understand the challenges we face each day, the present climate is a breeding ground for non-compliance with and violence against officers. Even wholly justifiable police actions are scrutinized, criticized and second-guessed in TV and newspaper stories, on social media and around water coolers. Pervasive anti-police rhetoric empowers the few – the unbalanced and the radical – to turn their feelings into deadly action.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice published a study on ambush attacks on police. It notes, “Concerns about targeted violence against police are rising in an era of strained community relations, struggles with police legitimacy, and anti-government extremism.”  After years of holding steady, the number of ambushes on police is rising and now constitutes the second-leading cause of shooting deaths of officers; the recent deaths of two Harford County sheriff’s deputies and a Prince George’s County detective in unprovoked, sudden attacks make us painfully aware of this fact.

It is nearly two years – an eternity in this era of 30-second attention spans -- since events in Ferguson, Missouri started us down this difficult road, and still there is no end in sight. We must remember that the tenacity of this national debate shows that citizens in many communities have experiences and a point of view to which attention must be paid. The discontent is not based on nothing.

And yet, as an officer for more than 40 years who has witnessed the commitment and sacrifice of thousands of fellow police men and women and the ultimate sacrifice of far too many, I am disturbed by the disparagement of our profession. I am troubled at the stubbornness of the chosen narrative of “problem policing,” even when the facts show an officer properly responded to a threat.  I am concerned that the mood of the moment may cause some – even some of us – to question the nobility and worth of our calling.

Last year, 124 U.S. officers gave their lives in the quest for a peaceful, orderly world; 42 of them died by gunfire. Thirty-five already have died this year. These figures actually understate the risks. Given that the number of non-fatal shootings is rising, we can conclude that the number of fatalities would be even higher were it not for advances in protective gear and other technology – and especially for advances in the Fire, EMS and medical profession. These first responders are saving people who in earlier eras would have died, while taking on plenty of risk themselves. They are our partners, and we thank them.

To take a longer view, consider the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. More than 20,000 names of officers killed in the line of duty are inscribed on this monument; the first known death dates back to 1791. Regardless of when they lived and died, these were men and women of valor: Fearless in the face of danger, caring of their fellow man, driven by a cause more important than themselves.

Our nine fallen heroes are remembered there, as they are here:

Edward Kuznar … Charles Huckeba … Samuel Snyder … Robert Zimmerman … Bruce Prothero … John Stem … Mark Parry … Michael Howe … Jason Schneider.

This morning is a time to remember them as we knew them – as friends, as fathers, as sons and brothers. It is a time for laughter as we recall them in happier times. It may be a time to feel the pangs of grief anew.

But most of all, this ceremony is a chance to reflect on why we are police officers … and why – no matter how fraught the times – the work we do matters.

 
 

Revised June 28, 2016