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Prosecutors rule fatal 2020 police shooting in Northeast Baltimore justified

Baltimore prosecutors concluded police were justified last year when they shot and killed an armed man who was wanted in Pennsylvania on charges of attempted murder.

In a 28-page report issued Thursday, prosecutors found six police officers opened fire after Michael Marullo, 33, came out of an apartment complex in Northeast Baltimore with a loaded revolver in his hand.

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“The hammer of the revolver was in the ‘cocked’ position,” prosecutors wrote. “The Involved Citizen pointed his gun at [law enforcement officers].”

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“It would be objectively reasonable for the officers to conclude their safety was at risk,” prosecutors wrote. “The decision to use force was justified under the Maryland law.”

Such a review by the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office is routine in cases of police shootings. The report found no “criminal culpability” by the officers who fired. If they were found to violate department policy, they still could face internal discipline. Police departments keep such discipline confidential.

Two officers were wounded in the encounter: one shot in his leg; the other, in his leg and belly. Officials identified the officers as Baltimore Police Officer Robert Adams and Baltimore County Officer First Class Swinney. Baltimore County does not release the full names of its officers.

While prosecutors did not expressly write that these officers were wounded by friendly fire, they found Marullo did not fire his revolver. The gun still held six live rounds.

Upon a tip from Pennsylvania police, some 16 officers converged on the apartment complex in the 5900 block of Radecke Ave. near the city-county line. The officers included members of city, county and state police and federal agents working together in a regional fugitive task force. None wore body cameras; the fatal encounter in February 2020 was not captured on video.

“As a part of the agreement between local and federal law enforcement agencies, task force officers are not permitted to wear body worn cameras during joint operations,” prosecutors wrote.

Attorney Thomas Maronick, who represented Marullo in the past, still has questions about the encounter.

“He’s the last guy you would think of doing something like this,” Maronick said.

He wondered what was said in the moments before Marullo emerged with a loaded gun, and if the man felt threatened.

One month before the shooting, Marullo resigned as a Maryland corrections officer. He had been locked in a legal fight with an ex-girlfriend. The day before his death, Marullo allegedly fired shots at the grandfather of his two children after a dispute over how Marullo was disciplining the kids.

Pennsylvania police filed charges against Marullo including attempted homicide, assault, reckless endangerment and gun charges. A Pennsylvania judge issued a warrant for his arrest, and police tracked him to his home at Gardenvillage Apartments in Northeast Baltimore near Rosedale.

The officers approached the front door of the apartment building when they saw Marullo run inside. Within seconds, he emerged holding a silver revolver, prosecutors wrote.

“The Involved Citizen then raised the gun and pointed it at one or more [law enforcement officer], at which time multiple LEOs opened fire, striking and killing the Involved Citizen,” they wrote.

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