Dispatch audio from Baltimore detective's shooting death shows concern over where shots came from

With no sign of a suspect, officers responding to the shooting of Baltimore Police Det. Sean Suiter feared the shots could have been fired from inside nearby buildings, dispatch audio shows.

“We do not know where these shots came from. We have officers in bad locations,” one officer said over the police radio. “Everybody take cover. Get away from the windows. We don’t know where the shots came from.”

Dispatchers said they had no suspect description to share.

“The caller is reporting his partner got shot. No description of the suspect, no further [information],” they said.

The audio shows how little information police had in those first moments, in a case that remains unsolved a week later with no suspect, despite a $215,000 reward.

Suiter, 43, was an 18-year veteran and left behind a wife and five children.

Police have said Suiter was investigating a 2016 triple homicide that occurred in the 900 block of Bennett Place, and returned to the block with a partner to locate a witness.

They have said he saw a suspicious person in the area of a vacant lot in the block, went to investigate, and was shot once in the head.

With responding officers believing the shots could have been fired from inside a nearby building, police and federal agents spent days clearing vacant buildings searching for a possible suspect.

“I’m not sure what we’re looking at, but apparently there’s an armed person inside Bennett Place,” an officer said. “We don’t know if its from a house or an alley.”

“Everybody calm down for a minute,” another officer said.

The detective with Suiter at the time did not have his radio with him when the shooting occurred, and called 911 from his cell phone instead of directly communicating over the radio, which is why he is described on the dispatch audio as being a “caller.”

Three shots were fired from Suiter’s weapon, which was recovered at the scene.

“We do have the officer's radio and weapon in sight. We still do not know where the shots came from and we do not have the shell casings yet,” an officer said at one point in the moments after the shooting.

In the hours after the shooting, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said the suspect was a black man wearing a black and white jacket. Police have not reiterated the description since then.

On Monday, following Suiter’s autopsy, police returned to the lot and said they found a new piece of evidence.

“I’m very encouraged by the recovery of this evidence,” Davis said on Monday afternoon, declining to elaborate on what was discovered. “I think it’s going to help us identify the killer.”

Anyone with information was asked to call the homicide unit at 410-396-2100, or 1-800-CALL-FBI, or 1-866-7LOCKUP.

jfenton@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justin_fenton

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