The death of Homicide Detective Sean Suiter remains one of the biggest open wounds from last year's record setting violent crime rate in Baltimore, shrouded in mystery and a litany of unanswered questions.
More than a year later we are learning more about some of the tips police fielded in the weeks after the detective was shot, including a forensic interview conducted on December 8th, 2017.
Donte Pauling was picked up and arrested on a gun possession charge three weeks after the death of Suiter and brought to BPD homicide to be interviewed.
WMAR 2-News obtained a copy of that interview where Pauling tells the officers he heard what happened to Sean Suiter and began detailing a second-hand account he heard outside a West Baltimore bar.
“This was before we even know that there was a police, that sh** in the news or whatever,” Pauling told detectives. “He was like, 'Man he was in his stash.' He said his kid was in the stash and the detective dude started to walk over and walk over top and he looked up and he saw a n*** with a gun or whatever so he went for it or whatever and that was the outcome.”
Pauling knew the name of the man who told him the story but says he never got the name of the man's friend who allegedly overpowered Suiter and killed him with his own service weapon.
In fact, he says, none of them even knew Suiter was a cop until they saw the news later that night.
When reached for comment on whether this tip was one of the 54 the Independent Review Board said was run down, the Baltimore Police Department said it cannot comment on an open investigation.
But statements made during the interview eventually became part of a federal case of a different target.
Federal prosecutors and a jury found Pauling credible enough to help convict one of the most prolific killers in recent Baltimore history.
Montana Barronette and his “Trained to Go Gang” stood trial in October.
Former city police commissioner Kevin Davis called Barronette "evil" and said that he was the city's number one trigger puller upon his arrest in 2016.
The feds ended up pinning eight murders on him, nearly a dozen on his crew, all of it laid out in a 24-page verdict sheet signed, sealed and convicted on Halloween.
The jury believed the government's case made in part with two days of public testimony from Pauling.
Suiter’s attorney Jeremy Eldridge says this is the latest piece of information that discredits the idea his client committed suicide.
“This piece of information, this interview further invalidates the conclusion of the IRB report.”
Eldridge has seen the video and while he doesn't know how much it was vetted, he says it continues to fuel even more questions about the IRB’s conclusion of suicide.
“This is yet again the icing on the cake so to speak that the IRB report should not be utilized by the office of the medical examiner to reach any conclusion because it is simply not a fair portrayal of the evidence that has been compiled in this case.”
It is important to note the IRB report says police ran down 54 tips and that “all leads were exhausted” but the report does not mention this lead specifically.
WMAR 2-News reached out to the Baltimore Police Department which said it cannot comment on an open investigation, but the Baltimore State's Attorney's office did tell us the matter of this interview is part of an open case and is a pending matter.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said today, there has been no update in the Suiter case.