Baltimore police identify alleged burglar fatally shot by off-duty police officer

Baltimore police on Thursday identified the armed burglary suspect fatally shot by an off-duty police officer in the officer’s home on Monday as 20-year-old Darius Miller Jr.

Miller, who has a long criminal record, previously had been flagged as one of “the state’s most dangerous supervisees” by state Parole and Probation officials, and was due in court two days after his death for violating probation in connection with past crimes, according to officials and court records.

Police said Miller, of the 2000 block of Paulette Road in Dundalk, entered the home of the officer with a gun and demanded money from the officer. The officer then wrestled Miller’s gun from him and shot him with it, police said.

Police said they will not be identifying the officer, as he was off-duty at the time and is considered a victim at this point in the investigation.

“He was a victim who just happens to be a police officer,” said Capt. Jarron Jackson, a police spokesman.

Police officers who shoot individuals while on duty are identified by the department within two days.

Police said the officer in this instance was alone and sleeping in his home in the 4400 block of Furley Ave., in the Frankford neighborhood of Northeast Baltimore, when Miller entered.

The officer was not injured. He called 911 about 11:30 a.m. He has since been placed on routine administrative duty pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by the police department’s Special Investigation Response Team.

Miller’s family could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Miller’s criminal record includes convictions for armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and car theft, but has repeatedly avoided significant prison time. That is despite repeatedly violating his probation since being identified in 2015 as one of “the state’s most dangerous supervisees,” according to Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections officials and court records.

Miller pleaded guilty to armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in April 2015, according to court records. He received a seven-year prison sentence from Circuit Judge Michael DiPietro, but with six years and five months of that suspended, and with time already served since his arrest counting against the remainder. He also received three years of probation.

It was also around that time that Miller was selected for special monitoring under the “Violence Prevention Initiative” in the corrections department’s Parole and Probation division, said Gary Shields, a department spokesman.

Since then, Miller has repeatedly been arrested — including for car theft and burglary — but has always avoided serving the balance of his suspended sentence, according to court records.

For instance, Miller was arrested in October 2015 for stealing a car, and in November 2015 pleaded guilty to a charge of unauthorized removal of property, for which he received a nine-month prison sentence.

On the same day as that plea, Miller pleaded guilty to violating his probation in the armed robbery case, and was sentenced by DiPietro to the six years, five months that had been suspended from his initial prison sentence — but with five years, 8 months of that time again suspended. The part of the suspended sentence he did have to serve ran concurrent with the nine months he received for the new crimes.

He again received probation, this time of two years, nine months.

Shields said probation officials had appropriately flagged each of Miller’s violations of probation. He said Miller was due in court on a violation of probation charge on Wednesday, two days after he was killed.

T.J. Smith, chief spokesman for the police department, said it is “disappointing that we once again have to focus on an individual’s past that includes a pattern of lack of accountability” within the criminal justice system.

“It’s the lack of accountability coupled with a lack of a fear of consequences that continues to embolden the criminal element,” Smith said. “No one is celebrating the loss of life, but we are certainly thankful that no innocent people were harmed by a man who was failed by the system.”

The judiciary did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Melba Saunders, a spokeswoman for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, said in a statement on Thursday that, after Miller’s 2015 conviction, prosecutors struggled to convict him in subsequent cases and the office’s Conviction Integrity Unit failed to violate him on his probation because “many of his cases involved close associates and/or presented victim and witness cooperation barriers.”

Earlier this year, the criminal history of another man who was fatally shot by an on-duty police officer raised questions for police as well.

Curtis Deal, 18, had been arrested for the third time in a month on gun or drug charges, and released under a curfew by a judge, the day before he allegedly pulled a gun on Det. David Kincaid during a foot chase. Kincaid fatally shot Deal.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis at the time criticized the decision by Judge Nicole Taylor to release Deal the day before the shooting, saying that his department “could very well be planning a police funeral right now.”

Mayor Catherine Pugh said at the time that Deal’s case showed “dysfunction” in the criminal justice system and how violent offenders are handled in Baltimore.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
48°