BALTIMORE — The Baltimore City State's Attorney's office (SAO) says 13 Baltimore Police officers were justified for fatally shooting a gun wielding man who allegedly targeted them on three prior occasions.
It all began last year on August 27, around 12:10 AM, when an officer was on a traffic stop in the 400 block of S. Highland Avenue.
A man believed to be 30-year-old Tyrone Domingo Banks pulled up beside the officer in a silver car and allegedly threw a bottle at the officers vehicle.
According to the SAO report, the officer asked “What’s wrong with you?,” at which time the man opened his car door and pointed a gun at the officer, before speeding away on Eastern Avenue. The officer tried following the vehicle but lost sight in an alley.
"An individual threw a (inaudible) at me, pulled out a gun,” the officer was heard saying on police radio at the time. “I am trying to tail him, he is going down Highland, getting ready to cross Baltimore."
Later that morning, another officer was responding to a report of gunshots near the 900 block of Monroe Street. As the officer arrived on scene a similar silver vehicle was observed fleeing the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.
At first the officer thought it was a BGE work car, and turned his car around. The driver, again believed to be Banks, came out and fired 1 to 3 shots at the officer from about 40 to 50 yards away, before fleeing.
"He is shooting at my car!” that officer yelled into his radio at the time.
Officers gave chase but were later called off after losing it on I- 295.
Back at the original scene, officers found a spent 9mm shell casing. They got the vehicle's license plate number, but were unable to capture footage of the officer being shot at because their body worn camera wasn't activated.
The next night around 10:55 p.m., two officers were helping a distressed citizen in the 1400 block E. Fayette Street.
One of the officers saw a silver colored Toyota Rav 4, matching the description of the vehicle wanted for both incidents the night before. Officers had information that Banks was considered armed and dangerous and might be suicidal. That information was affirmed by his girlfriend.
Like his other two previous run-ins with police, Banks got out of the car and pointed a handgun at the officers, before getting back into the vehicle and taking off.
With help from a police helicopter, Banks was found stopped in the left-hand turn lane on the corner of Caroline and E. Fayette Streets.
Banks again got out of the vehicle armed with a handgun. An officer pulled his patrol car behind Banks's car and fired through his windshield at Banks.
For the last time, Banks got back into the car and tried to flee, as more officers opened fire.
The first officer who fired rammed the back of Banks's car causing it to climb the sidewalk and hit a tree.
The SAO wrote in their report that police helicopter camera footage shows Banks in the drivers seat pointing a pistol at officers.
At this point, Banks's arm is seen jerking upwards about 4-7 times. Sparks are seen around Banks's vehicle, indicating police gunfire.
After the shootout, officers approached the car and pulled Banks out to render aid. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he died.
The SAO report said 13 different officers fired a combined 147 rounds.
During the shootout an innocent bystander, 51-year-old Ray Maier , was shot while stopped in traffic on E. Fayette Street. One of the officers also suffered a gunshot wound to the upper leg and was taken to Shock Trauma before being released a couple hours later.
A 9mm Luger pistol was found with a jammed cartridge in the chamber, suggesting the weapon jammed when Banks tried to fire it. The cartridges matched those found the previous night after Banks fired at officers on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The SAO concluded in their report that the use of deadly force was justified under the Maryland law of self-defense, and that the officers actions didn't rise to a level of criminal culpability.
The State's Attorney says her office's investigation focused solely on whether criminal charges against the officers were warranted, and not if they complied with department policies and procedures, or exposed to civil liability.