xml:space="preserve">
Widow Nicole Suiter stands with daughters Damira Suiter and Zharia Suiter on Friday during a gathering outside City Hall on the two-year anniversary of the killing of Baltimore Police homicide detective Sean Suiter.
Widow Nicole Suiter stands with daughters Damira Suiter and Zharia Suiter on Friday during a gathering outside City Hall on the two-year anniversary of the killing of Baltimore Police homicide detective Sean Suiter. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

With their late father and husband at the center of a political tug-of-war, the family of Baltimore Police Det. Sean Suiter shouted frustrations Friday up to the windows of City Hall.

Exactly two years had passed since the 43-year-old detective was shot in his head in a vacant lot in West Baltimore. His death remains either homicide, as his family says; or suicide, as the police say.

Advertisement

“Two years later, on this day, I’m angry; I’m frustrated,” said Damira Suiter, his daughter. “At every turn of events, there’s somebody who’s trying to drag Detective Suiter’s name through the mud.”

About 30 people attended, and the Suiter family wore bracelets and T-shirts with words demanding justice. “Sean Suiter was murdered. Solve it!” they wrote on signs. “How many times are you going to kill my father?”

Their rally follows back-and-forth events of last week surrounding the detective’s death. A Maryland State Police report led Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison to declare the case closed and Suiter’s death a suicide. The next day, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and the police union said the investigation actually remains open.

Prosecutors wrote Harrison a frustrated memo, noting recent developments in their investigation as well as their work to check out a possible suspect. Harrison backtracked, saying he misspoke when he called the investigation closed. He hasn’t publicly backed off, however, from a position that the detective killed himself.

The events have revealed a rift between commissioner and state’s attorney, while leaving Suiter’s family without closure two years later.

“We have gone from homicide to suicide to maybe to ‘I don’t know,’” said Shannon Glanville, Suiter’s friend. “We have had to tolerate people putting Sean down. Everyone has opinions.”

Suiter’s death was ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner. But police came to believe he committed suicide. They commissioned an outside review by a panel of law enforcement experts. The panel concluded Suiter’s death was likely a suicide.

As various agencies differ on the manner of death, potential payments to the Suiter family have been on hold. A suicide finding could mean the loss of more than half a million dollars in benefits, workers’ compensation and pension payouts.

The shooting occurred the day before Suiter was to testify to a federal grand jury about an incident of planted evidence related to the rogue Gun Trace Task Force squad.

Eight former members of the Gun Trace Task Force were convicted of racketeering and sentenced to federal prison. The officers — six accepted plea deals, two were convicted — stole money from citizens, lied on paperwork and bilked the city for unearned overtime pay. They are serving prison sentences that range from seven to 25 years.

Defense attorney Jeremy Eldridge, Suiter’s friend and lawyer, has maintained that the detective was not worried about being implicated in the scandal. On Friday, Eldridge remarked that no one — not members of the City Council nor the police department — had come out of their offices and walked across the street to stand with the Suiter family.

Neither Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young nor City Council President Brandon Scott could be reached for comment Friday afternoon. Harrison issued his statement on Thursday but is not commenting further, the police said.

“Look around ... where are the police today? Tell me where the mayor is. Tell me where the commissioner is," Eldridge said. “They are all standing behind me, looking out the windows.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement