BALTIMORE — An armed security guard who shot and killed a man during a July 2021 confrontation inside a Baltimore Giant Food will not face criminal charges.
City State's Attorney Ivan Bates announced the decision Friday.
"While a security guard is not held to the same legal standards as a sworn police officer, it is clear that Mr. Ninneh's actions would not be found criminal in nature in a court of law," said Bates.
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According to prosecutors Nicholas Lee walked into the store located at the Reisterstown Plaza without a shirt on.
Titus Ninneh, who happened to be working security at the store that day, told Lee he had to put on a shirt or leave the store.
Lee apparently refused and kept walking towards the back of the market, as Ninneh followed.
At some point Lee's girlfriend stepped in and struck Ninneh in the face with a package of meat.
That's when Lee allegedly jumped in and began punching Ninneh, forcing him into a display case.
The couple reportedly continued their assault until Lee eventually placed Ninneh in a chokehold and wrestled him to the ground.
While on the ground fighting, prosecutors say Lee tried taking Ninneh's gun.
Ninneh in response discharged the weapon, striking and killing Lee. The girlfriend also sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the hand.
Following the incident WMAR spoke with Lee's cousin, who demanded that Ninneh be charged.
“He was putting on his shirt. The security guard I guess wanted him to put it on faster and that wasn't enough for him…from all the accounts we are hearing, the security guard followed him to the back of the store and just engaging,” Patricia Watson told WMAR at the time.
MORE: Family of man killed inside Giant calls for security guard to be charged in his death
Bates said former State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby conducted a prior investigation into the incident and decided internally not to prosecute, but never notified Lee's family.
"From our review of the previous administration's investigation, we found that my predecessor and her executive team consulted a use of force expert in 2021, received the results from the expert in 2022, held multiple internal briefings, and were advised by their own ASAs to decline charges in the matter," said Bates. "Although they decided not to prosecute, it seems they did not fulfill their duty to notify the family despite repeated requests. This delay, unfortunately, causes more unnecessary trauma to the victim's family."