Man dies after Baltimore police standoff — the second time he was involved in police shooting
By Jessica Anderson and Sarah Meehan
The Baltimore Sun|
Mar 25, 2019 at 5:15 PM
Baltimore Police are investigating a police involved shooting that left one man dead after an hours-long standoff with police inside a home in Northwest Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson, Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun video)
A man was found dead inside a Northwest Baltimore home after a Baltimore police officer fired shots at him during an hours-long standoff, police said Monday.
Family members at the scene Monday morning identified the man who was killed as Kevin Bruce Mason, 57, and said they continue to seek answers about his death.
“We’re getting conflicting reports,” said Kevin Mason’s younger sister, Kimberly Mason. “It’s just so confusing. I feel like I’m in a dream,” she said.
The shooting occurred nearly 40 years after Mason exchanged gunfire with an officer in 1980 — an incident in which he suffered serious injuries, while the officer was shot in the arm.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a news conference Monday that he has reviewed body-worn camera footage from two officers who were at the scene Sunday night and the incident remains under investigation.
Officers were called to the 4900 block of Pembridge Ave. about 11:40 p.m. Sunday for a report of an assault, police said.
Police first encountered Mason outside his home, and they believed he was armed with a gun, Harrison said. Mason threatened to kill the officers if they came any closer to him, Harrison said.
The man retreated back into the house, and shortly after midnight came out a second time, police said.
“When he exited the rear of the home for the second time, one of the officers fired in that direction. [Mason] then retreated back into the home,” Harrison said.
Based on the camera footage, Harrison said, it appeared an officer fired two shots toward Mason. Police initiated a barricade situation, Harrison said, and SWAT team members worked to negotiate with Mason. No officers were injured in the incident, police said.
Several hours later, a woman who was in the house emerged and said Mason was sleeping inside the home, Harrison said. Police then entered the home and found Mason unresponsive, Harrison said.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine Mason’s cause of death, Harrison said.
Crime scene workers carried Mason’s body out of the house in a gray body bag just before 7:40 a.m. as onlookers, including several family members, watched and sobbed. One woman yelled, “They killed my brother!”
Mason’s sister and several of Mason’s family members who went to the scene Monday morning said they found out about his death from morning news reports. They said they received conflicting explanations from police as to how he died.
“This is why people have a problem with the Baltimore city police department because [they] are not being transparent,” Kimberly Mason said. She said she has reached out to the commissioner’s office for answers but the family has not heard back.
“Regardless of what you think about him, he still have a family still has a right to know what happened. His siblings are not going to let it go,” she said.
“Kevin was one of nine,” Kimberly Mason said. “This is the first sibling we’ve lost to violent crime.”
Mason said she was a little girl when her brother exchanged fire with police, also in Northwest Baltimore, in February 1980. Kevin Mason was critically injured and an officer was shot in the arm during the incident, according to Baltimore Sun reports from the time.
Police said the officer approached Mason, just 17 at the time, who then struck the officer in the head with a large transistor radio and drew a small caliber handgun, according to a Sun report. Police said Mason began shooting, and the officer returned fire. The officer, who was wearing “departmental body armor,” was struck in the chest, side and arm. Mason was struck three times in the neck, chest and abdomen.
Kimberly Mason said her brother served his time, and moved on from that incident.
“He was a decent man,” she said.
Kimberly Mason awoke to a call from another sister at 6 a.m. telling her there were reports of a man killed on Kevin’s block, she said.
Police are following officer-involved shooting protocol in the case, including an investigation by the state’s attorney’s office. Harrison said members of the consent decree monitoring team and the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which includes Internal Affairs, also responded to the scene.
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Harrison said he’s still assessing whether to release body-worn camera footage publicly.
“We will make a determination in the very near future,” he said. “I think ‘in the best interest in accountability and transparency’ will drive that decision. I believe in being accountable to our community and to our department. I believe in transparency to our community.”
Harrison said the department does not have a policy determining whether and when footage should be made public, but that he hopes to have a policy created in the near future.
Last year, there were six incidents in which police officers fired their guns. A week after two officers exchange gunfire with 29-year-old Nathaniel Sassafras, who was killed Sept. 23, the department released footage from one of the officer’s cameras. Footage from another officer’s camera was destroyed in the shooting.
Harrison did not release the name of the officer who fired at Mason.