A Baltimore police officer shot and killed a man early yesterday, moments after the man fatally stabbed his ex-girlfriend with a kitchen knife on the sidewalk outside her West Baltimore home, authorities said.
Lequisha I. Truitt, 28, of the 2500 block of W. Baltimore St. died there in front of her 8-year-old daughter, police said.
The man, Ditania E. Kane, 28, of the 4400 block of Manorview Road, died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said.
Southwestern District Officer Andrea Curtis, who fired the shot, was reassigned to administration duties pending an internal investigation, police said. She has been on the police force since 1999.
Police said Curtis was on patrol when she passed by Truitt's small Formstone-exterior rowhouse as a furious domestic scene was coming to a violent end.
Officer Nicole Monroe, a police spokeswoman, said homicide detectives had pieced together an account that begins with Kane entering the house about midnight. When he found Truitt in the company of another man, he confronted them and tried to choke the other man, Monroe said.
The new boyfriend, whose identity police declined to give, fled the house, Monroe said, leaving Truitt and her daughter alone with Kane who had armed himself with a kitchen knife.
Monroe said the estranged boyfriend continued to wield the knife and grabbed Truitt, who was unclothed. He forced her outside the house and stabbed her in the chest, piercing her heart.
Truitt's daughter witnessed the assault from the doorway and followed the pair outside.
The police officer saw the sidewalk beating and stabbing on the marble steps and sidewalk outside Truitt's home. She stopped her car and used chemical Mace in an attempt to subdue Kane, Monroe said.
With Truitt lying on the sidewalk, Kane brandished his knife in a threatening way at Curtis, Monroe said. The police officer shot him, and he fell next to Truitt, Monroe said.
Neighbors said they were shocked and sad that they could not protect Truitt as she fought for her life. Ronald "Rock" Smith, 54, who lives two doors away, said, "I looked out my window and I wished I was out there. I've never seen something like that."
Curtis was seen shaking with emotion after the shooting, neighbors said.
Carole Anderson, executive director of the House of Ruth shelter and services for battered women, said yesterday that Truitt was at high risk if she was just ending an abusive relationship.
"The most vulnerable period for lethal abuse is when women end the relationship," Anderson said. If the police account is accurate, she said, "This is a crime of control."
The child, who was not injured, was staying with relatives last night, police said.