A man fatally shot by FBI agents outside an Owings Mills Sam's Club last month was a known Black Guerrilla Family gang member under surveillance in a federal narcotics investigation, according to a Baltimore County police report.
FBI agents were secretly watching Jameel Kareem Ofurum Harrison, 34, who had attempted to buy illegal drugs when the agents tried to stop his car on April 11 on Reisterstown Road, the report says.
Authorities from the FBI and Baltimore County police have said little about the afternoon shooting and have not explained what led the agents to open fire on the car. The police report adds some details about why police were targeting Harrison but does not explain the shooting. It is unclear whether Harrison was armed.
Harrison had a criminal record that involves drugs, court records show, and the FBI said the agency was working with other law enforcement officers as part of a larger investigation, but officials have not provided additional details on the investigation involving Harrison.
The FBI frequently partners with local law enforcement to investigate large-scale drug and gun operations, adding the extra weight of more personnel and access to additional resources. It also opens the way to prosecution in federal courts, where prosecutors secure guilty verdicts or pleas in most of their cases and sentences are generally stiffer than under state jurisdiction.
The BGF gang has been a law enforcement target in Baltimore for years, and the city's police commissioner dubbed it a public enemy blamed in part for the increases in violence.
The group has reach into state prisons and beyond the city limits, and the FBI has had them in their sights for some time with indictments and prosecutions.
Law enforcement officials have declined to discuss either the investigation against Harrison or the April 11 shooting, which is being handled by federal authorities.
"Unfortunately both the case and the internal shooting review are still open, so I can't provide any more detail," FBI spokeswoman Amy J. Thoreson wrote in an email.
A Baltimore County police spokeswoman referred questions about the shooting to the FBI. A Baltimore County officer was with the federal agents at the time, but the local department says he did not fire his weapon.
Baltimore County police were called at 4:42 p.m. April 11 for a first-degree assault at the entrance to the Sam's Club on Reisterstown Road, the report said. Baltimore County police personnel responded but ultimately FBI officials arrived at the scene to collect evidence.
A man who said he witnessed the incident said law enforcement had an SUV surrounded before the vehicle backed up, and that he saw smoke he thought was from gunshots. Family members of the man who was killed were at the scene, but declined to comment.
Messages left at Harrison's home on Clairelee Drive in Owings Mills were not returned.
A statement from the FBI said three agents were involved but the report identifies four; Agents Nye, James, Reagan, and Lipsner, who had been conducting surveillance on Harrison. The report doesn't provide the agents' first names or identify who fired upon Harrison.
In an earlier statement, the FBI said the agents and other officers "encountered the subject who was in his vehicle" before they fired but did not provide further details. The agency's shoot review team from headquarters was at the scene to conduct the investigation.
State court records show Harrison has been charged numerous times for drug-related offenses. Several court files show he was working full-time at a Frederick auto dealership as a salesman, and was living with his mother.
Harrison was scheduled to appear in Baltimore City District Court on burglary charges and was scheduled to appear in court in May, online court records show. Harrison's fingerprints were recovered from the window of a home that had been broken into on Springhill Avenue in Baltimore.
In January he was found guilty of unlawful possession of narcotics in Baltimore, receiving a one-day sentence.
In November, officers in a marked police vehicle stopped Harrison in the 3900 block of Hayward Ave. after they said he drove through a stop sign. In charging documents, the officers said Harrison became "extremely nervous" when he was asked to show his license and registration. Harrison's license was suspended. When the officers went to place him under arrest, the document said they found a bag of heroin in his right sweat shirt pocket.
twitter.com/janders5Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun