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Baltimore County Police officer discusses recovery after apparent friendly fire shooting; officials mum on details

Baltimore County Officer First Class Swinney speaks at a news conference at county police headquarters about his recovery after being shot.

A Baltimore County Police officer is still recovering after an apparent friendly fire shooting last month that left one man dead and a second officer injured, an incident that city and county officials have refused to provide additional details about nearly three weeks later.

Baltimore County Officer First Class Swinney and Baltimore Police Officer Robert Adams, both assigned to a U.S. Marshals Service task force, were shot while attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Michael Marullo, 33, who was killed in the incident in Northeast Baltimore on Feb. 12. Police have not have explained how Marullo and the officers were shot, but have said officers recovered a fully loaded gun from Marullo.

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On Tuesday, Baltimore County Police held a news conference at their Towson headquarters where Swinney and his wife, a Baltimore city police officer, spoke to reporters for about 10 minutes about his recovery. County spokeswoman Vickie Warehime told reporters beforehand that Swinney would not discuss the shooting and said he was being made available for an interview only to provide an update on his condition and discuss how the use of a tourniquet helped save his life.

Lindsey Eldridge, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Police, which is the lead agency in the investigation, declined Tuesday to provide additional details on the shooting. The investigation is still open and has “a lot of moving parts,” she said.

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Swinney, a 31-year veteran with Baltimore County, said he’s been on the federal task force since 2014 and previously served on a county warrant task force since 2007.

Baltimore County Officer First Class Swinney speaks during a news conference at Baltimore County Police headquarters. His wife, Mrs. Swinney, is on right.
Baltimore County Officer First Class Swinney speaks during a news conference at Baltimore County Police headquarters. His wife, Mrs. Swinney, is on right. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun)

Reporters asked Swinney whether he would provide his first name, but before he could respond, Warehime said he would not do so.

“We can’t," she said. “I would appreciate the respect of just using their last name. If we could make that happen, that would be fantastic, please.”

Baltimore County, unlike other law enforcement agencies in the area, declines to provide officers’ first names citing a contract stipulation with the police union.

At the news conference, Swinney said he was shot in the abdomen, just below his gun belt, and his left leg.

“I felt the burn in my stomach,” he said, adding that he didn’t know he had been shot in his leg. “I was worried about all my people.”

He described how he managed to walk to a police vehicle where another officer cut off his pant leg and applied a tourniquet above his knee to stop the bleeding. Swinney said his partner drove him in a police vehicle to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, which took 14 to 16 minutes. He said he received 30 stitches down both sides of his leg where he was “sliced open” by medical staff.

Swinney said he was grateful for his fellow officers who treated him at the scene, as well as the hospital staff.

“If it weren’t for my teammates, things could’ve been worse," he said.

He said he’s looking forward to getting back to work.

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