The Independent Investigations Division of the Maryland State Attorney General’s Office released body camera footage late Friday afternoon from a fatal police shooting of a man June 4 in Sykesville.
Three videos were posted on YouTube, showing three perspectives of the incident, which began about 9 p.m. June 3, when state police responded to a report that a man had called a crisis hotline threatening to commit suicide.
Upon arrival, state troopers “attempted to make contact with the man,” identified as Jack Cimino, 52, of Sykesville, and declared a barricade, bringing in the state police SWAT and crisis negotiation teams throughout the night, according to the attorney general’s office news release.
A 10-hour standoff followed, ending at about 7 a.m. June 4, when Sgt. Jesse Hartsock of the Maryland State Police shot Cimino, according to the news release; Cimino was taken to a hospital where he died.
Hartsock, who has worked with the state police for 15 years and is assigned to the Field Operations Bureau, was moved to an administrative role following the shooting, per department policy, according to Maryland State Police spokesperson Ron Snyder.
The first video, a little over 57 minutes long, is from the body camera of a state trooper referred to as a “witness officer.” The video starts with text stating that on June 3, around 9 p.m., “Troopers received information that an adult male called into a crisis hotline threatening to commit suicide with a gun, and that he was under the influence of an unknown substance.”
In the video, Sykesville and Baltimore County Police Department Officers arrive and take positions behind the state trooper’s vehicle. Police shine lights into the apartment windows but do not approach as a crisis response team tries to communicate with Cimino by phone. With stun grenades and long rifles, the group of officers moves next to a church adjacent to the apartment. The video ends when a state police armored vehicle arrives in the apartment parking lot.
The second video is the body camera footage from Hartsock, who eventually shoots and kills Cimino. The video starts at 1:46 a.m. June 4, as state police are stationed around the armored vehicle outside the apartment.
Parts of the footage is muted “to shield tactical information.” Inside the armored vehicle, a man is on the phone with Cimino, who appears to be concerned about being forced to stay three days in a hospital as well as paying rent.
“Just because you go and talk to somebody at Carroll hospital, that doesn’t mean they’ll hold you for 72 hours,” the man on the phone says. “Nobody is going to get you kicked out. Jack, the only way you’re going to get kicked out of your place is if your landlord tells you you have to go.”
Police also make references to speaking to Cimino’s daughter. During the phone conversation, Cimino appears to tell police he used to be a volunteer firefighter and asks for Sykesville Freedom District Fire Chief Ed Ruch.
“If I get Eddie up here, I have your word that you’ll come out and we’ll resolve this and get you up to the hospital?” the man asks on the phone.
Ruch appears to arrive on the scene and talk to Cimino on the phone.
“Supposedly he’s looking for his gun. He’s looking for his AR,” a police officer states after Ruch appears to get off the phone with Cimino around 3 a.m.
Around 3:45 a.m., a state trooper tells Hartsock he thinks Cimino wants to die.
“It seems like he has made up his mind that he wants to die, but he can’t do it himself, and realizes that we’re not going to shoot him just if he walks out. Now he’s feeling stuck. He doesn’t know what to do,” the officer says in the video.
After that remark, the audio is again “redacted to shield tactical information.” When the audio returns, police are still speculating whether Cimino has an AR-15.
Around 4 a.m., Cimino hangs up the phone and stops answering. At 5:45 a.m., police attempt to talk with Cimino through the armored vehicles’ loudspeaker as a handful of officers in full tactical gear wait outside.
“Jack we’re all worried about you. Come out on the porch, so we can talk to you,” police said. “Put the gun down. Nobody wants to hurt you.”
Around 6 a.m., Cimino opens the door to his porch before returning inside. Around 6:30 a.m., police move the armored vehicle closer to Cimino’s door. At 6:40 a.m., Cimino again opens his front door before retreating inside.
Around 7 a.m., Hartsock moves from the right side of the armored vehicle to the rear, where he stands for about five minutes until Cimino returns to the open doorway. Hartsock crouches beside the rear right tire and shoots Cimino, who can be seen falling over. Before the shot, there were no audible orders or communications between officers.
“Shots fired. He fell backwards into the house,” Hartsock said.
“Where do you think you hit,” another officer asks.
“Chest,” Hartsock replied.
Officers then sent a robot with a camera to the doorway before approaching closer on foot. Once inside, an officer observes that Cimino has no pulse. A handgun is visible on the floor, near where Cimino was standing when Hartsock shot his firearm.
Carroll County Breaking News
The third video, also a little over 57 minutes long, is from the body camera of a state trooper referred to as a “witness officer.” The video starts with text stating the footage was collected around 7:05 a.m. June 4.
The footage largely shows the officers waiting for further orders until a loud pop can be heard at the 40:49 mark, close to 7:45 a.m.
At the 49:24 mark, one can hear an officer say, “Jack, we’re calling it in.”
After the 50-minute mark, the video shows officers rapidly moving into and throughout the residence, checking each room for any potential dangers before shutting the video off, noting at 56:10, “Everybody out.”
In June, police said they believed Cimino was armed when they arrived. A gun was recovered near Cimino afterward, according to an earlier news release.
The Independent Investigations Division is conducting the investigation into the shooting. The agency generally releases body-worn camera footage within 14 days of an incident. However, the division stated in a news release at the time of the shooting that “there may be situations where more than 14 days is necessary, including if investigators need more time to complete witness interviews, if there are technical delays caused by the need to shield the identities of civilian witnesses, or to allow family members to view the video before it is released to the public.”
State officials delayed releasing the footage until Friday to “conduct untainted interviews” related to the investigation, according to the news release.