In the video released yesterday, the officer can be seen talking to a landlord and tenant when more than a dozen shots ring out half a block away. While shots are still being fired, the officer takes out his weapon and begins running in the direction of the sound.
At the next street, he encounters a 17-year-old. The officer, with weapon drawn, orders the teenager to, "Put the gun down, put it down. Get on the ground, now!" The boy complies immediately as the officer repeats, "Put the gun down. Roll over! Roll the f*ck over! Get on the ground!"
The officer reported the incident as an "on-view shooting" when he took the boy into custody, and told other officers that the thought the boy was the suspect he saw firing, according to WMAR-2 News. However, the shooting is not visible on the officer's body-worn camera.
"I was walking up the alley to walk up North Avenue, bro, and I heard some sh*t so I started running," the boy tells the officer in the video. He's sticking to that line ahead of his trial in October, in which he'll face murder charges in the death of 29-year-old Walter Baynes and charges related to the attempted murder of Baynes' grandfather.
"What you see on the video is somebody running, that's not abnormal," the boy's defense attorney Tony Garcia told local media. "The officer says he has a gun, you can't see anything in the video but the officer says he had a gun. That doesn't make him the shooter or even make him involved without more."
According to police charging documents, after the boy was placed in the squad car, police searched him and recovered a 9mm handgun with an empty magazine. It isn't clear why police waited until after he was in the squad car to search him.
Police say that 14 of the 23 casings found on the scene matched the 9mm gun.
Baltimore Police spokesperson TJ Smith released a statement following the release of the video Monday, saying that the officer "was commended for his quick and decisive action that also can be categorized as life-saving. Any person bold enough to shoot and kill a man a half a block from a uniformed police officer undoubtedly poses a continued threat to public safety." The statement went on to say that the officer's "performance was exemplary and his decisiveness ended an immediate threat."
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Police Department remains in the midst of a massive scandal that saw the sentencing of three former detectives and one sergeant late last week. They were members of the police department's Gun Trace Task Force and were convicted of a host of crimes ranging from dealing drugs to robbing people and planting guns on others. The former officers' sentences range from seven to 25 years.