A 19-year-old man shot by a Baltimore police officer after allegedly driving into him last week had been ordered held without bond earlier this year on gun and drug charges, but was set free by another judge last month after the public defender’s office raised COVID-19 concerns.
Police late Monday night identified the officer as Thomas Smith, an Eastern District patrol trainee.
Baltimore police said Monday that Corey Dixon drove into Smith after ignoring his commands and then hit him “head on.” That’s when Smith fired his service weapon, striking Dixon in the left hand and shoulder, police said.
Smith, who’s been with the department since July 2020, was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital to be treated. He was released within a day.
Dixon was arrested March 1 after members of the plainclothes Eastern District Action Team said in court papers that they watched an Instagram “story” post showing him displaying a gun in his waistband while standing near Collington Square Park.
The officers went to the park and saw him wearing the same clothes, and they say he took off running, according to court records. Police wrote that he tripped and fell, dropping a .40-caliber gun. They also allegedly recovered 50 gel caps of heroin and eight vials of cocaine.
District Judge David Aldouby ordered Dixon held without bond pending trial on related charges, records show. The public defender’s office filed an appeal, calling his detention amid the COVID-19 pandemic “cruel and unusual punishment.”
On April 13, Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert Taylor reversed Aldouby’s order, releasing Dixon on his own recognizance and instructing him to apply to ROCA, a nonprofit program which tries to provide jobs and training to at-risk youth. Dixon has no prior arrests, according to visible electronic court records. (A new law recently went into effect that removes dropped cases from the online case search database.) Prosecutors had asked Taylor to uphold the original detention order.
LaToya Gray, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said Dixon had been assigned to pretrial services following his release and made all required contacts through May 11. He was not ordered to home detention.
But now police say Dixon, while on release, is suspected of committing a string of robberies.
Police said Monday night that two officers approached his vehicle in East Baltimore last Thursday in connection with a vehicle taken in an armed robbery. Police said Dixon drove off.
Shannon Heery, an assistant public defender who filed for Dixon’s release, said that “mere allegations, particularly against an individual shot by the police and not charged with the accusations lodged by the police, do not contradict the court’s previous reasoning.”
“Individualized determinations are made, and reassessed when new circumstances arise,” Heery said. “Nothing about the circumstances here changes the importance of case-by-case review and for that review to encourage pretrial release for presumptively innocent individuals with a low risk of dangerousness or flight.”
Defense attorney Andre Mahasa noted in court Monday that the officer did not suffer serious injuries.
“It is our position that my client was shot, lost control and then the officer was struck, but not seriously,” Mahasa told Judge Rachel Skolnik.
Mahasa said that Dixon is enrolled in a program and attempting to obtain his GED as well as a commercial driver’s license.
Dixon has not been charged in connection with any robberies but remains a “person of interest,” said police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge.
Skolnik ordered him held without bond Monday until trial, saying she believed he is a danger to the community. No trial date has been set, according to the online court database.
Dixon is charged with second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer and traffic violations.
Baltimore Sun reporter McKenna Oxenden contributed to this article.