A Baltimore Police officer fatally shot a knife-wielding man after responding to a family disturbance in North Baltimore, officials said, the first police shooting since the agency implemented new rules governing the investigation of such incidents.
The victim was identified as Sheron Carter Jackson, 21, who lived in the 2500 block of W. Coldspring Lane, the block where the shooting took place. Anthony Guglielmi, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said police were called to a home at about 9:40 a.m. Tuesday for an individual with a weapon who was “about to do something crazy.”
As an officer approached the front door of the home, police say Jackson walked outside displaying a “knife-like object” later determined to be a folding knife. Guglielmi said Jackson was shot multiple times after a “confrontation” with the officer and was pronounced dead at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Jackson’s only prior brushes with law enforcement appeared to be a 2009 charge for possessing a dangerous weapon on school property in Baltimore County, court records show. Police said the circumstances surrounding the 911 call to the home were being sorted out.
The officer was suspended as a matter of routine pending the investigation but was not identified per a department policy that gives police 48 hours to release the officer’s name.
The shooting is the first police-involved shooting by Baltimore police this year; in January a man was fatally shot in the city by Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County officers who had pursued him after he stole a police cruiser.
The police department recently adopted new general orders for police-involved shootings, following recommendations from the independent commission that investigated the Select Lounge departmental shooting that killed Officer William Torbit Jr. in January 2011.
The new rules require police to form a “team with representatives from different units of the department” to respond to all police involved shootings, including the homicide section supervisor, the internal investigations division supervisor, the training academy’s firearms supervisor, crime lab, and public affairs.
The Select Lounge commission had been particularly critical of the department's policy of waiting until homicide detectives and prosecutors conclude investigations before launching internal reviews of police-involved shootings.
Part of the reason is that officers who shoot someone are automatically subject to a criminal investigation, and can't be compelled to give statements that might incriminate themselves.
Under the new rules, the Police Department's response will seek voluntary statements from officers within 30 days of a shooting. If an officer refuses, the department can compel a statement but cannot share it with detectives. It can be used only for commanders to study the incident, and within 45 days, the chief of the criminal investigation division is now required to submit a comprehensive summary report of the shooting to the police commissioner.
Authorities have also pledged better tracking of statistics and trends in police shootings, which have been declining since 31 people were shot or killed by police in 2007.