Officer Timothy Bowman, who worked with Laboard for seven years, said, "Jim defuses situations with his calm demeanor."
Attorney Shaun Owens, who represents the police union, added in Wednesday's statement that the death "is a tragic event" and that "we extend our deepest sympathies to the Brown family. It is important for the community to bear in mind that tragedy does not require blame."
In the most recent area prosecution surrounding a police-involved death, Baltimore City Officer Gahiji Tshamba was convicted last June of voluntary manslaughter for shooting an unarmed Marine veteran outside a Mount Vernon bar. The judge who sentenced him to 15 years in prison called his actions "repugnant."
Police said Tshamba shot Tyrone Brown 12 times during a drunken dispute that erupted after the victim groped a woman and the off-duty officer, a 15-year veteran with a history of disciplinary problems, pulled his service weapon to defend her honor.
The last time city prosecutors targeted a police officer in connection with a fatal on-duty shooting was in 2008, when Officer Tommy Sanders was charged with manslaughter for shooting an unarmed man twice in the back at the Hamilton Shopping Center. A jury acquitted him in 2010, believing his account that he saw the man he was chasing reach into his coat pocket.
The charges in the Laboard case came as detectives continued to investigate another incident in which a suspect was injured in an altercation with a Baltimore County officer. The suspect, who has not been identified, is in critical condition after the officer in the Towson Precinct struck him with a flashlight during an arrest earlier this week. The suspect faces second-degree assault charges against the officer.
Police said the altercation between Laboard and Brown began when a teen Brown was with threw a rock at Laboard's home on Susanna Road in Randallstown.
One of Brown's friends who spoke with The Baltimore Sun said Brown was not the one who threw the rock at Laboard's door and that he was opposed to the activity they called "knicker-knocking," throwing rocks and ringing doorbells at random houses.
Laboard ran after the teens who scattered from his home, catching up to Brown a few blocks away, where Brown hid in some bushes.
Brown's mother had said he had suffered from a torn ACL injury that forced him to wear a leg brace and made it difficult to walk.
When Laboard confronted him in the bushes and demanded that he come out, police said, Brown refused and the officer pulled him out. They got into a physical confrontation and Brown fell unconscious. Laboard called for help and attempted to resuscitate Brown, police said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Hermann contributed to this article.