Baltimore homicide Detective Sean Suiter was killed just one day before he was scheduled to testify against eight fellow officers in a highly-publicized corruption trial, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announced Wednesday evening.
Davis was quick to insist that there is no evidence linking Suiter’s death – the first case of an on-duty Baltimore being slain by a suspect in 10 years – to the federal proceedings involving eight members of the department’s gun task force who allegedly conspired with drug dealers and shook down citizens, the Baltimore Sun reported.
“The BPD and the FBI do not possess any information that this incident … is part of any conspiracy,” he said, claiming that Suiter was killed randomly while investing a suspicious person report in West Baltimore’s Harlem Park neighborhood.
“There is no information that has been communicated to me that Detective Suiter was anything other than a stellar detective, great friend, loving husband and dedicated father,” Davis added.
Authorities said that Suiter, a married father of five, was likely killed with his own service weapon fired from close range after a struggle. No arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified, but police are offering a reward of $215,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
Davis also described surveillance footage obtained from the scene that showed Suiter’s partner scrambling for cover.
“Upon the sound of gunfire, Detective Suiter’s partner sought cover across the street,” he said. “He immediately called 911. We know this, because it is captured on private surveillance video that we have recovered.”
Of the eight task force members who have been indicted on federal racketeering charges, four have pleaded guilty, two of which are cooperating with authorities. The other four members have pleaded not guilty and will face a jury in January.
Their scheme allegedly saw the officers – who were tasked with confiscating illegal guns – break into civilians’ homes, steal their possessions, file false paperwork, split profits with drug dealers, and commit overtime fraud.