The Baltimore County Police Department have said they are “unsure” whether the shooting of an armed woman and her five-year- old son was caught on officers’ body cameras.
There were growing calls for any footage of Korryn Gaines’s death to be released after it emerged that videos posted on her social media accounts during a stand-off with police had been deleted.
The 23-year-old was shot dead at her home on Monday after allegedly threatening police with a shotgun while holding her son, who was hospitalised with bullet wounds that were not believed to be life-threatening.
The Baltimore County Police Department said it was “not yet clear” whether any of the officers involved were equipped with body cameras, which are currently being rolled out in the force.
Elise Armacost, the department’s director of
public affairs, told a press conference: “It’s not clear whether we have any body camera footage of this incident.
“Our body camera programme is just a few weeks old. We are looking to see whether any officers involved in this case were wearing cameras but only a few officers are wearing them at this point.”
Tributes were being paid to Ms Gaines from across the US on Tuesday, with her death being condemned by friends, relatives and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The race of the officers who shot the mother, who was black, have not been released but campaigners characterised the incident as a continuation of a series of police shootings involving people of colour.
There was also suspicion over the reported
deletion of Facebook videos posted by Ms Gaines during the stand-off and other social media posts.
One of the videos from Ms Gaines’ account, which has since been shared on Twitter, appears to show her talking to her son as police officers can be heard outside.
“What are they trying to do?” she asks. “They’re trying to kill us,” the little boy replies as he sits on the floor.
Ms Gaines’s death was the third shooting incident involving Baltimore County Police officers this year and the first killing by one of its officers in 2016.
A spokesperson said three officers were executing an arrest warrant on Ms Gaines and a man at the same address on Monday morning.
He was wanted for assault, while Ms Gaines had had failed to appear in court over several traffic charges, including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after being stopped by police last March.
After hearing a man and woman talking inside and the sound of a child crying, police obtained a key to the apartment from the landlord and opened the door to find Ms Gaines pointing a shotgun with one arm and holding her son in the other.
“The officers retreated to the hallway outside the apartment and called for additional support,” the spokesperson said.
“The male suspect ran from the apartment with a one-year-old boy – one of two children in in the apartment with the couple – and was apprehended by police.
“The armed woman remained inside with the five-year-old boy, and a barricade situation began at about 9.40am and continued throughout the afternoon.”
Police said the apartment building was evacuated as the stand-off continued for several hours with negotiators as Ms Gaines refused to surrender.
Baltimore County Police said an officer opened fire at around 3pm (8pm BST) local time after she pointed her shotgun at an officer saying: “If you don’t leave, I’m going to kill you.”
Ms Gaines allegedly returned fire with two shots, missing officers, and was “struck multiple times” by bullets, dying at the scene.
All officers involved in this incident were placed on administrative leave, with their names expected to be released on Wednesday