Family seeks answers in Baltimore Co. police shooting

Family of the man shot by county police on Monday speaks out.

Family members of a man shot by Baltimore County police this week say he remains hospitalized, unresponsive and unable to breathe on his own, and they want to know what happened.

The man, a suspect in a triple stabbing outside a White Marsh nightclub, was shot by police Monday morning outside his sister's apartment complex in Northeast Baltimore. Authorities have not released his name, but family members have identified him as 25-year-old Frank E. Poline of Baltimore.

"We have questions, and we want answers," said Maria Ortiz, an aunt.

Police say they had a warrant for the suspect's arrest in connection with the stabbing early Sunday at the Prime Nightclub on Pulaski Highway. When officers encountered him outside the Frankford Gardens apartments Monday morning, police said, he was displaying a gun.

"He had it in such a manner that [the officers] could see it," Baltimore police Detective Ruganzu Howard said.

Officers opened fire, Baltimore police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said Monday. He declined to say what caused them to shoot. He said a weapon was found at the scene.

Poline's family members say they want more explanation. They say Poline knew police were looking for him in connection with the stabbing, and he had told relatives he planned to turn himself in — but first, they say, he wanted to see his sister and her baby.

They say Poline took an unregulated cab, or a "hack," to the apartment but was shot inside the cab before the visit.

Earlier that morning, county police searched the Dundalk home of his grandmother, Awilda Perez. At the time, Perez says, only Perez and her 5-year-old granddaughter were there.

County police said Wednesday that three members of the Criminal Investigation Division Person Crimes Section were involved in the shooting. Officials identified the officers as Cpl. Rupp, an 11-year veteran of the department; Officer Nacke, a 27-year veteran; and Officer Powell, a 29-year veteran. Officials said Nacke has been involved in two previous shootings.

Under the department's contract with the police union, officials do not release the first names of officers involved in shootings.

The exact roles of the officers in the shooting were unclear. All have been placed on administrative leave. The county referred questions to city police.

City homicide detectives are conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting. County police are leading an internal investigation.

Kowalczyk said releasing more information would compromise the investigation.

"Detectives have witnesses that they need to interview," he said. "Until the homicide detectives conclude their criminal investigation, we will not release any information that could potentially compromise witness statements."

Members of Poline's family, gathered around his grandmother's kitchen table on Tuesday night, said they are struggling to understand what happened.

"He got in trouble with the law," Ortiz said. "But he didn't deserve to get shot the way he did."

Police said initially that there were two victims in the stabbing for which Poline was wanted. But a third victim went to the hospital Sunday, Baltimore County police Cpl. John Wachter said.

"If he was involved in this stabbing, the law needs to take care of that," Ortiz said. "The law says you're innocent until proven guilty."

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