Baltimore Sun's Alison Knezevich reports on the police officer who fatally shot Korryn Gaines. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
The Baltimore County police officer who fatally shot Korryn Gaines last month is a 16-year veteran of the department who was also involved in a deadly shooting in 2007, the Police Department said Thursday.
Police officials identified him as Officer First Class Ruby of the Support Operations Division. The department does not release the first names of officers involved in shootings under an agreement between the county and the police union.
Gaines, 23, was killed inside her Randallstown apartment after an hours-long standoff with police. Her death has sparked protests and questions from civil-rights activists across the country.
Police waited an unusually long period of time before releasing Ruby's last name, citing threats against their personnel. The public identification of the officer came one month after Gaines was killed. Typically, the name is released within about 48 hours.
Police Chief Jim Johnson decided "we had reached a point both with the investigation and in terms of the safety issues that were concerning us several weeks ago that he felt it was time for him to release the name," spokeswoman Elise Armacost said. "It was a difficult decision for him to make," she added.
Officers went to Gaines' apartment Aug. 1 to serve warrants on her, stemming from a traffic stop, and on her boyfriend in connection to an alleged assault on Gaines. A standoff ensued, and police say Gaines threatened to kill Ruby and pointed her gun at him. He opened fire on her, and when she shot back, Ruby fired again, according to police.
Ruby also shot Gaines' 5-year-old son, Kodi, in the cheek while firing at Gaines, police said.
The case has drawn questions from groups including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which last month asked police for information and documents about the shooting and departmental policies.
Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill said Thursday she still has questions — including whether anyone with mental health expertise was with police, about details of the officers' entry into the home, and why Ruby opened fire when a child was nearby.
"There are still many questions in the case," Ifill said. "This is a young woman, a young mother who was in her home and who was being served with arrest warrants for misdemeanors."
Ruby has been assigned to administrative duties while the department conducts an internal investigation, Armacost said.
Gaines' mother, Rhanda Dormeus, said Thursday she was relieved the officer's last name has been released.
"I just wanted a name associated with my child being murdered," she said, but added that she feels the situation "wasn't handled properly."
"I want the departments all over to acknowledge they have a problem," she said. "These are human lives. There are a number of things they could have done before they used lethal force."
Dormeus said her grandson Kodi has been staying with his father, who she said is a former county police officer.
Gaines' cousin, Creo Brady, said he felt it was "almost like a spit in the face" that the full name of the officer was not made public.
He said he believes an independent agency should investigate the shooting.
"It's been really hard on the family," he said. "It's just a tragedy that needs to bring about change and accountability."
County Councilman Julian Jones, who represents Randallstown, said he continues to hear from community members asking about the shooting.
He plans to hold an informational meeting for residents at 6 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Randallstown Community Center.
"We hope that it gives an opportunity for the Police Department to come and explain to the community what happened," Jones said.
Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger's office will review the shooting to determine whether to bring criminal charges once police send his office the investigative file.
"We are waiting on a couple more pieces of investigative items that have to be done," Shellenberger said Thursday. He declined to elaborate on what those are.
In 2007, Ruby was one of two tactical officers who shot at a suicidal 24-year-old man in the 8700 block of Avondale Road in Parkville, police said. The shooting was ruled legally justified.
The person killed in that shooting was identified as Adam Benjamin Rothstein.
According to police, Rothstein called 911 and said he was armed with guns, knives, pepper spray and a Taser. They said officers found him at Parkville Middle School, and negotiators began speaking with him.
Police said Rothstein pointed a weapon at officers at 3:29 a.m. after giving them an ultimatum that he would start shooting at 3:30 a.m. if he didn't get what he wanted.
Later, police discovered the weapon was a BB gun.
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