Attorneys for Korryn Gaines' 6-year-old son file new claims against Baltimore County police

Attorneys for the 6-year-old son of Korryn Gaines are disputing key details in the Baltimore County Police Department’s account of the fatal shooting of the Randallstown woman last year.

Lawyers for the son, Kodi, said Tuesday that Gaines, 23, was not pointing her shotgun at police when Royce Ruby Jr., a county tactical officer, shot her with an assault rifle from the hallway outside her apartment following Gaines’ hours-long standoff with police in August 2016.

“There was this … suggestion that Korryn Gaines was pointing her weapon at police officers at the time she was shot,” said attorney Kenneth Ravenell, who represents Kodi. “That is just not true.”

Ravenell and other attorneys laid out new claims on behalf of Kodi in an amended lawsuit filed Tuesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

When Ruby fired at Gaines, he also twice hit Kodi, then 5 years old, according to the complaint — first when he shot from the hallway through drywall at Gaines, and then when he shot her in the kitchen.

The first shot hit Kodi in the face; the second his elbow, Ravenell said. The child was standing “at his mother’s hip,” he said.

“He’s going to remember that he watched his mother be gunned down in his presence,” Ravenell said. “That’s what this 6-year-old will have to live with for the rest of his life.”

Gaines’ family initially filed the lawsuit last year against the county, Ruby and other police officers.

Over the past year, more than a dozen county officers have been deposed in the case, attorneys representing the family said.

A civil trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 30 in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Ravenell said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz should direct the county to compensate Kodi for his injuries.

“It is our intention to give County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and the county representatives a chance to rectify this great harm to a 6-year-old,” Ravenell said.

A spokeswoman for Kamenetz declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Officers initially went to Gaines’ apartment to serve an arrest warrant for her alleged failure to appear in court after a traffic stop. They also planned to serve a warrant on her fiance, Kareem Courtney, for an alleged assault on Gaines.

Last year, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger ruled the shooting legally justified and filed no criminal charges against officers involved in the shooting. He said Ruby, who was in the hallway, first fired at Gaines because she had pointed her gun at other officers — and that she fired back, leading Ruby to fire more shots in the kitchen.

“I stand by the statements I made in public concerning the outcome of this case,” Shellenberger said Tuesday. “I believe the Baltimore County Police Department did a thorough investigation that allowed me to come to the conclusion that this was a justifiable shooting.”

Ravenell said Tuesday that when Ruby fired the first shot, no officer was standing in Gaines’ line of fire.

The lawsuit also says that other officers have testified that after Ruby’s first shot, “there was a pause of approximately 30 seconds.”

“Korryn Gaines did not return fire or fire her weapon during this 30-second pause as has been alleged,” the lawsuit states.

County Attorney Mike Field, whose office represents Ruby and other officers named in the lawsuit, declined to comment on the amended lawsuit. So did police spokesman Cpl. Shawn Vinson, citing the pending litigation.

The lawsuit also includes two new defendants in the Police Department: Maj. Woodland Wilson and Capt. Eliot Latchaw, who Gaines family attorneys say “were in charge of the operation.” The lawyers contend that the two violated Gaines’ rights when they asked for her social media accounts to be deactivated during the standoff.

Through Vinson, both declined to comment.

Ruby remains with the department. Last month, he was promoted to the rank of corporal, according to a police announcement.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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