Condition improves for man police shot
Richard Gibbs Jr. got out of car with gun, officers said
The condition of a 29-year-old man shot by a Baltimore police officer Tuesday night has improved, police said Wednesday.
Police said Richard Gibbs Jr. was pulled over about 10:35 p.m. in the 1000 block of N. Monroe St., near the Western District police station, because he was driving a car with an “obliterated” license plate. He stepped out of the BMW holding a loaded gun and was shot once, police said.
T.J. Smith, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said Gibbs did not raise or point the handgun. But he said officers have to react quickly.
“You exit a vehicle with a gun in your hand, there’s not much time left for negotiation,” Smith said.
Though “several” police officers were on the scene at the time of the shooting, police said none were wearing body cameras. Cameras are being rolled out in stages, with 600 of the 2,500 officers in the city now wearing them.
Gibbs was initially listed in critical condition, but police said his condition has improved. Attempts to reach relatives and friends were unsuccessful, but they wrote on his Facebook page that Gibbs was speaking Wednesday afternoon and said they doubted the police version of events.
Gibbs, known as “Rickey,” had posted on Facebook before the shooting that he had attended a candlelight vigil earlier in the evening.
“Candle Light Vigils For Death & Funerals Shouldn’t Be The Only Thing Bringing Hoods Together In Baltimore! But Im Glad Something Is!” Gibbs posted.
In April, Gibbs was at the scene of another police-involved shooting, when a 14-year-old boy was shot after running from police with a replica gun in East Baltimore. Gibbs recorded a police commander discussing the shooting with another person and provided the video to The Baltimore Sun.
The shooting of Gibbs was the 10th this year by city police and the first since July. Seven of those shootings occurred between March 31 and May 31.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis did not identify the officer who fired the shot but said he had been on the force a year and a half.
“He was doing exactly what we ask him and the other members of this Police Department to do: proactively be present in areas where we are routinely struck by violence and engage in the crime fight,” Davis said.
Police released an image of the damaged license plate that caused police to pull over Gibbs; it appeared to be a Michigan plate.
Smith said Gibbs initially opened the car door but stayed inside. An officer standing on the passenger’s side saw him “produce a handgun” and yelled “Gun!”
Gibbs then got out of the car “and there was a very brief struggle where the officer on the driver’s side attempted to deflect the gun away,” Smith said. That’s when Gibbs was shot, he said.
Police also released an image of the handgun they say they recovered from Gibbs. It showed a revolver that had been spray-painted black and which police said was loaded with five rounds.