Po­lice re­lease name of of­fi­cer from fa­tal Au­gust stand­off

16-year vet­eran who shot Kor­ryn Gaines was in­volved in deadly 2007 in­ci­dent

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Alison Kneze­vich and Jes­sica An­der­son

The Baltimore County po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot Kor­ryn Gaines last month is a 16-year vet­eran of the depart­ment who was also in­volved in a deadly shoot­ing in 2007, the Po­lice Depart­ment said Thurs­day.

Po­lice of­fi­cials iden­ti­fied him as Of­fi­cer 1st Class Ruby of the Sup­port Op­er­a­tions Di­vi­sion. The depart­ment does not re­lease the first names of of­fi­cers in­volved in shoot­ings un­der an agree­ment be­tween the county and the po­lice union.

Gaines, 23, was killed in­side her Ran­dall­stown apart­ment af­ter an hours­long stand­off with po­lice. Her death has sparked protests and ques­tions from civil-rights ac­tivists across the coun­try.

Po­lice waited an un­usu­ally long time be­fore re­leas­ing Ruby’s last name, cit­ing threats against their per­son­nel. The public iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the of­fi­cer came one month af­ter Gaines was killed. Typ­i­cally, the name is re­leased within about 48 hours.

Po­lice Chief Jim John­son de­cided “we had reached a point both with the in- Kor­ryn Gaines

ves­ti­ga­tion and in terms of the safety is­sues that were con­cern­ing us sev­eral weeks ago that he felt it was time for him to re­lease the name,” spokes­woman Elise Ar­ma­cost said. “It was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion for him to make,” she added.

Of­fi­cers went to Gaines’ apart­ment Aug. 1 to serve war­rants on her, stem­ming from a traf­fic stop, and on her boyfriend in con­nec­tion to an al­leged as­sault on Gaines. A stand­off en­sued, and po­lice say Gaines threat­ened to kill Ruby and pointed her gun at him. He opened fire on her, and when she shot back, Ruby fired again, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Ruby also shot Gaines’ 5-year-old son, Kodi, in the cheek while fir­ing at Gaines, po­lice said.

The case has drawn ques­tions from groups in­clud­ing the NAACPLe­gal De­fense Fund, which last month asked po­lice for in­for­ma­tion and doc­u­ments about the shoot­ing and de­part­men­tal poli­cies.

Le­gal De­fense Fund Pres­i­dent Sher­ri­lyn Ifill said Thurs­day she still has ques­tions — in­clud­ing whether any­one with men­tal health ex­per­tise was with po­lice, about details of the of­fi­cers’ en­try into the home, and why Ruby opened fire when a child was nearby.

“There are still many ques­tions in the case,” Ifill said. “This is a young woman, a young mother who was in her home and who was be­ing served with ar­rest war­rants for mis­de­meanors.”

Ruby has been as­signed to ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties while the depart­ment con­ducts an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Ar­ma­cost said.

Gaines’ mother, Rhanda Dormeus, said Thurs­day she was re­lieved the of­fi­cer’s last name has been re­leased.

“I just wanted a name as­so­ci­ated with my child be­ing mur­dered,” she said, but added that she feels the sit­u­a­tion “wasn’t han­dled prop­erly.”

“I want the de­part­ments all over to ac­knowl­edge they have a prob­lem,” she said. “These are hu­man lives. There are a num­ber of things they could have done be­fore they used lethal force.”

Dormeus said her grand­son Kodi has been stay­ing with his fa­ther, who she said is a for­mer county po­lice of­fi­cer.

Gaines’ cousin, Creo Brady, said he felt it was “al­most like a spit in the face” that the full name of the of­fi­cer was not made public.

He said he be­lieves an in­de­pen­dent agency should in­ves­ti­gate the shoot­ing.

“It’s been re­ally hard on the fam­ily,” he said. “It’s just a tragedy that needs to bring about change and ac­count­abil­ity.”

County Coun­cil­man Ju­lian Jones, who rep­re­sents Ran­dall­stown, said he con­tin­ues to hear from com­mu­nity mem­bers ask­ing about the shoot­ing.

He plans to hold an in­for­ma­tional meet­ing for res­i­dents at 6 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Ran­dall­stown Com­mu­nity Cen­ter.

“We hope that it gives an op­por­tu­nity for the Po­lice Depart­ment to come and ex­plain to the com­mu­nity what hap­pened,” Jones said.

Baltimore County State’s At­tor­ney Scott Shel­len­berger’s of­fice will re­view the shoot­ing to de­ter­mine whether to bring crim­i­nal charges once po­lice send his of­fice the in­ves­tiga­tive file.

“We are wait­ing on a cou­ple more pieces of in­ves­tiga­tive items that have to be done,” Shel­len­berger said Thurs­day. He de­clined to elab­o­rate on what those are.

In 2007, Ruby was one of two tac­ti­cal of­fi­cers who shot at a sui­ci­dal 24-year-old man in the 8700 block of Avon­dale Road in Parkville, po­lice said. The shoot­ing was ruled legally jus­ti­fied.

The per­son killed in that shoot­ing was iden­ti­fied as Adam Ben­jamin Roth­stein.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Roth­stein called 911 and said he was armed with guns, knives, pep­per spray and a Taser. They said of­fi­cers found him at Parkville Mid­dle School, and ne­go­tia­tors be­gan speak­ing with him.

Po­lice said Roth­stein pointed a weapon at of­fi­cers at 3:29 a.m. af­ter giv­ing them an ul­ti­ma­tum that he would start shoot­ing at 3:30 a.m. if he didn’t get what he wanted.

Later, po­lice dis­cov­ered the weapon was a BB gun.

“It’s just very hard for me to talk about,” said Richard Roth­stein, Adam Roth­stein’s fa­ther, when reached by phone Thurs­day. He de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

At the time, po­lice said Adam Roth­stein might have been “agi­tated over is­sues sur­round­ing a re­cent job loss.”

Richard Roth­stein told The Baltimore Sun in 2007 that his son had been re­hired as a se­cu­rity guard and was ex­pected to start work the week he was shot. He said his son suf­fered from bipo­lar dis­or­der.

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