Bowing to pressure from the NAACP, the Baltimore County Police Department released a graphic video on September 25 showing one of their officers shooting a 19 year old outside a pharmacy on Main Street in Reisterstown, Maryland, on Wednesday. Police were dispatched to the scene after receiving a call that the teen was trying to get a forged prescription filled at the pharmacy, according to CBS News in Baltimore.
A surveillance video from a nearby private business shows the entire altercation between Officer Earomirski, a nine year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department and suspect Keith Harrison McLeod, of Washington, D.C. Officials released the video of the officer involved shooting in an effort to defend Earomirsk’s actions. The department is not releasing the officer’s first name.
Yesterday, Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson held a press conference to formally release the video and provide additional details regarding the shooting, according to a release from the Baltimore County Police Department. Johnson shared testimony from witnesses on the scene who said that the officer was pleading with the suspect to surrender.
Witnesses said they could clearly hear Earomirski saying “Don’t do this! You don’t want to do this!” The video shows McLeod aggressively moving forward toward the officer with his arm behind his back and his hand in his rear waistband as the officer continued to back away.
Witnesses said that McLeod was shouting profanities at the officer and repeatedly yelling “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to kill you.” In an instant, McLeod whipped his right arm from behind his back as if he was going to fire a gun and even used his left arm to steady his right in gunfire fashion.
After McLeod raised his arm, the officer shot him three times at close range. But instead of pointing a weapon at the officer, McLeod was pointing his empty hand. According to the BCPD release:
Johnson said the officer had one second to make a life or death decision, and that the video shows the officer had every reason to believe the suspect was armed and that he was in danger. He said Officer Earomirski “is one of my finest officers.”
According to Johnson, this was the officer’s first time shooting a suspect and that no weapon belonging to McLeod was found at the scene. McLeod died shortly after being shot. Earomirski has since been placed on administrative leave.
Baltimore County Police & Fire has posted the officer involved shooting video on their Facebook page and is available for viewing here. Be forewarned that the video does depict the officer fatally shooting McLeod.