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BPD releases graphic body cam footage of officers fatally shooting man holding girlfriend at knifepoint

BPD BWC footage
Posted at 11:05 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 17:22:28-04

BALTIMORE — Wednesday, Baltimore Police released graphic body worn camera footage of the May 16 officer-involved shooting on E. Lafayette Avenue.

Officers were initially dispatched after a child called 911 to report that his father was trying to stab his mother with a knife.

The department showed portions of footage from the cameras of three different officers.

Officer Gaston Melendez was first on scene with a police trainee.

The footage picks up outside a row home where Melendez can be heard meeting and speaking with the child caller.

He tells Melendez that "he did this yesterday. He has a knife. Yesterday he cut her hand. He has a knife on her knee now."

Melendez then knocks on the door of the home and announces himself as police.

Yelling is heard from upstairs.

"Help me please!"

"Put the knife down! Put it down," said family members who were upstairs with the victim and the suspect.

Melendez and the trainee make their way up a flight of stairs into a narrow hallway.

Just feet away, 49-year-old Timothy Fleming is seen armed with a knife standing atop his fiancé Shannon Burnham.

RELATED: Man holding woman at knife-point shot, killed by officers Sunday

A relative of the woman appears to be trying to talk Fleming down, when officers ask him to back away.

Not long after, a second officer, Jason Zimmerman, arrives on scene.

Over the next two minutes and 20 seconds, the officers try negotiating with Fleming.

"Timothy, please just talk to us. We don't wanna hurt you, we don't wanna hurt anybody. That’s not what we are here for. We're here to help, just speak to us," Melendez said.

Zimmerman also tries pleading with Fleming asking, "what can we help you change, what can we help you fix?"

Both officers give Fleming some options to help bring the chaotic situation to a safe ending.

"You either let her move and you hold on to the knife or you can put the knife on the ground," the officers say.

Despite their efforts, Fleming instead raises the knife, grabs Burnham's hair and begins motioning as if he were about to stab her.

That's when Melendez and Zimmerman simultaneously fire eight shots, fatally striking Fleming.

One of the officers then drags the woman to safety and asks if she had been stabbed. She was not injured.

The trainee is seen applying life saving measures to Fleming until medics could arrive.

Commissioner Michael Harrison said the officers appeared to do a great job trying to deescalate as best they could.

"It was a fraction of a second decision to neutralize that threat to save the life of the woman who he could potentially have stabbed and could've been fatally wounded. I think the officers used a lot of restraint and I believe they used their training and those deescalation techniques as best as they could they pleaded with Timothy to put the knife down," said Harrison. "I don't know this could've gone any other way considering the distance they were the narrowness of the hallway the position he was in and at the moment he appeared he was going to strike or stab the victim, they were left with no other choice."

READ MORE: Fiancé of man killed by police while holding her at knife point demands justice

Burnham said that Fleming had begun hallucinating, fearing that someone was in their home trying to kill him.

"He grabbed me by my hair. He pushed me threw me down on the ground and had a knife to me."

But Burnham is upset how police handled the situation and feels they didn't have to kill Fleming.

"They sat there and repeatedly shot at him and they shouldn’t have done that. I can see one shot in the leg or tased him."

Officer Melendez has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since March, 2006 and Officer Zimmerman since February, 2014.

The department is still continuing an internal investigation into the incident and the State's Attorneys Office will conduct its own investigation.

Watch the full video by clicking here.