A prosecutor on Thursday accused a Baltimore police officer of hiding the body of his teenage stepson in his Anne Arundel County home and charging documents described the officer as telling police searching for the boy that a hole in a wall in the home’s loft was his “gun safe.”
The 15-year-old boy was identified as Dasan Jones, according to charging documents for the officer. A neighbor remembered Dasan, whom she called “D.J.,” watching over his younger siblings and her children when they played together in their Curtis Bay neighborhood near the mouth of Cox Creek. A magnet student at Glen Burnie High School and an accomplished violin player, Dasan was described by those who knew him as quiet and kind.
Officer Eric G. Banks Jr., a three-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department whose official powers had already been suspended, was denied bail in a hearing Thursday, and he has been suspended from his job without pay. He is being held in protective custody as a potential suicide risk, officials said.
Banks, 34, faces charges of assault and resisting arrest. They stem from his attempt Tuesday to grab the gun of a county police officer who came to Banks’ home on a call related to a custody dispute, charging documents say.
During a bail review hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Miller said Banks had moved and hidden his stepson’s body. Miller also said Banks had “made statements that he is homicidal and suicidal.”
”He admits to officers that he moved his son’s body from one location in the home, and secreted it in another, Your Honor,” Miller said. “He has shown that he is not afraid to resort to violence.”
The cause of Dasan’s death is under investigation by the state medical examiner’s office, Anne Arundel police said. Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the medical examiner’s office, said the office “can’t discuss cases under investigation.”
After initially telling police the teenager wasn’t home, Banks consented to a search of the house, which ended in the loft, where police found the boy’s body in a “hole in the wall with a white cover leaning on it,” charging documents say. Banks had told the officers the area was his gun safe.
Once he was handcuffed and taken outside, Banks repeatedly pleaded to be allowed to kiss his kids, asked to have his handcuffs adjusted — and then made “a clear attempt to disarm me,” trying to take the officer’s Glock 17 handgun from his holster, the officer wrote.
“Mr. Banks stated multiple times ‘you’re gonna have to end this’ as we were wrestling over the firearm,” the officer wrote. Five officers brought Banks under control, the officer added.
Banks and his attorney, Warren Anthony Brown, appeared by video conference at the hearing. Brown asked that his client be released to home confinement. He noted his client served in the military before he joined the police department.
Anne Arundel County District Court Judge Danielle Mosley denied bond for Banks, saying he poses a flight risk and a potential harm to himself, his family and the community.
Banks served 11 years with the U.S. Marine Corps, reaching the rank of sergeant. He was deployed to Afghanistan three times, winning a number of awards, and left the service in March 2018.
Baltimore Police did not say why or when the department had previously suspended Banks’ police powers. Once he was charged Tuesday night with a felony, he was suspended without pay, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Wednesday.
“The deputy commissioner and I have been in communication with the chief of Anne Arundel County,” Harrison said. “The officer was already suspended based on a previous incident and is now suspended without pay, pending the outcome of that criminal and administrative investigation.”
Banks has served on the force for three years. He received a $54,454 salary and $88,933 in gross pay during the 2020 fiscal year.
Banks’ wife had complained of stalking and “emotional and mental abuse” in a June 25 petition in Anne Arundel District Court for a protective order from him.
Banks’ wife noted that he has two firearms — one for work and one for leisure — in asking the court to order him to stay away from her, the 15-year-old stepson and their two sons. She requested custody of the boys.
The officer’s wife said in the filing that he had followed her on multiple occasions, and asked that he be ordered to undergo counseling.
Judge Ronald Karasic denied the temporary protective order petition June 28.
Next-door neighbor Stephanie Castagnera said Dasan had helped look out for his younger stepbrothers and her kids, who played together in the neighborhood.
Castagnera, who has lived there about three years, said she would never forget the sound of his mother’s crying.
“That cry that I heard, I knew instinctually, as a mom, that something happened to her kids,” Castagnera said. “I will never forget it. My heart is just broken.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton and Baltimore Sun Media reporters Donovan Conaway and Hope Kahn contributed to this article.