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Baltimore police detective died by suicide, report says

2018-08-30 23:00
A Baltimore, Maryland police officer that was initially reported to be fatally shot actually committed suicide, according to a new report. Sean Suiter, 43, was shot in the head on November 15, 2017. The death occurred in a vacant lot in West Baltimore. The killing happened the day before Suiter, a homicide detective, was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in a police corruption case involving some of his fellow officers, reported CNN. Kevin Davis, the police commissioner at the time of the death, said that Suiter was killed by a suspect during a struggle, triggering a massive manhunt that included a $200,000 reward for information that led to the arrest of Suiter's killer. However, by early 2018 the police had exhausted all leads so they hired an independent agency to conduct a review of the entire investigation. The Independent Review Board found that Suiter was facing possible charges if he denied guilt in the corruption case or the loss of his job if he admitted guilt. Review Finds No Evidence of Killing The Independent Review Board said that Suiter had no defensive wounds on his knuckles, hands, or arms, while his DNA was found inside the barrel of the gun and its surface. "It is most implausible that anyone other than Detective Suiter could have fired the fatal shot with his weapon," the report said. The board also considered the theories that Suiter's gun went off accidentally or that his partner shot him but ruled those out, reported WBAL-TV. Davis was heavily criticized in the report. "The commissioner repeatedly shared unverified and ultimately inaccurate information with the public, despite the emergence of forensic and other evidence suggesting that Suiter took his own life," it said. The seven-member board reviewed reams of material including witness videos, radio and 911 transmissions, and video footage from a camera in the immediate neighborhood of the shooting. "Video from a neighbor's video camera and testimony of two witnesses establish that a suspect would have had a couple of seconds at most to disarm Suiter, shoot him with his own weapon, erase any trace of his presence, and exit the vacant lot without being seen or heard," the report said. Suiter's Widow Speaks Out But not everyone agreed with the review board's findings. Nicole Suiter, his widow, told the Baltimore Sun that he was killed. “I have the same views and thoughts as the majority of the community, and that is, my husband did not commit suicide,” Nicole Suiter said in her first public comments since his November death. “I will not accept the untimely death of Sean as nothing other than a murder, which is being covered up for reasons unbeknownst to me or my family.” “Sean did not deserve to die in this manner, and no one deserves to get away with this," she added. Defense attorney Jeremy Eldridge, who was representing Sean Suiter, said the review board had selectively chosen partial information to reach the conclusion they did. “Sean’s last moments are being painted without any facts or evidence, and only assumption, without ever taking care to even attempt to interview his attorney, his wife, any of his [Police Department] partners, or anybody who was close to him in those moments,” Eldridge said.