Baltimore County Police Department officers shot and killed 23-year-old Korryn Shandawn Gaines yesterday (August 1) after they stormed her home to arrest her for charges related to a March traffic stop.
The Independent reports that police officers shot Gaines, who is Black, and her 5-year-old son after she allegedly threatened them with a shotgun. The boy survived his injuries.
A spokesperson for the department—which, it should be noted, is not the same department involved in the death of Freddie Gray—said that three officers were executing arrest warrants for Gaines and a man at the address, as she had failed to appear in court to address traffic tickets and face charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest during a traffic stop. After knocking for ten minutes and not getting a response, the officers say they used a landlord-supplied key to open the door to Gaines’ apartment and that when they gained access, she was pointing a shotgun at the door while holding her son in her lap.
Per The Independent:
“The officers retreated to the hallway outside the apartment and called for additional support,” the spokesperson said.
“The male suspect ran from the apartment with a 1-year-old boy—one of two children in in the apartment with the couple—and was apprehended by police.”
“The armed woman remained inside with the five-year-old boy, and a barricade situation began at about 9:40 a.m. and continued throughout the afternoon.”
Police said the apartment building was evacuated as the stand-off continued for several hours with negotiators as Ms. Gaines refused to surrender.
The police say that Gaines then raised the gun and told officers she would kill them if they did not leave.
“Perceiving not only her actions, but the words she used, we discharged one round at her, in turn she fired several rounds back at us,” Police Chief Jim Johnson said during a press conference. “We fired again at her, striking and killing her. Tragically in this circumstance, the child that was also in the dwelling was struck by a round. We do not know at this moment in time whether or not that round was fired by our weapons or by the weapons possessed by Ms. Gaines.”
The Washington Post reports that Gaines is the ninth Black woman to be killed by police in 2016.
Baltimore County’s body worn camera program just deployed with 10 cameras last month, and the spokesperson said it is “unclear” if the incident was recorded. Gaines reportedly posted videos to her social media accounts during the standoff, some of which are now unavailable. Journalist Shaun King reposted this one, which he says depicts SWAT team members in her doorway:
He also posted the following undated video, from a traffic stop:
Many people called out what they see as problems with the police department’s narrative:
just waking up. imma hold off on the rapid fire passion. but i am gonna say i feel like something is missing in this #KorrynGaines narrative— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) August 2, 2016
Racism is when we ask why she had a gun before wondering why they need a swat team to enforce parking violations #KorrynGaines— Justin Cohen (@juscohen) August 2, 2016
@juscohen Why’d she have a gun? Because 2nd Amendment rights, that’s why. -said no pro gun lobbyist about a black person ever— Charrosé (@CharroseCK) August 2, 2016
Idgaf if #KorrynGaines had a gun. White male MURDERERS are apprehended w/weapons every day, b— Sensei Aishitemasu (@seren_sensei) August 2, 2016
“She shouldn’t have put her child in that situation.” What situation? They were in their own home where they should’ve been. #KorrynGaines— D (@Delo_Taylor) August 2, 2016
If #KorrynGaines was actually a threat, the officers were supposed to put their lives on the line for her son, right? They shot him.— jamilah lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) August 2, 2016
Wow. They really are deleting the social media videos that #KorrynGaines posted yesterday. I’m downloading them & they are disappearing.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 2, 2016
Why was her social media deleted? Where is the body cam footage? Why was her child shot? All this for a warrant for tickets? #KorrynGaines— Misty Knight’s Afro (@Steph_I_Will) August 2, 2016
Don’t tell me no bullshit about Tamir Rice or John Crawford or Philando Castile or Alton Sterling or Korryne Gaines dying b/c of a gun.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 2, 2016
Because I found HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of stories of white men pointing guns directly at police and living to face a jury of their peers.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 2, 2016