Con­di­tion im­proves for man po­lice shot

Richard Gibbs Jr. got out of car with gun, of­fi­cers said

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Justin Fen­ton jfen­ton@balt­

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.

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