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Sean Suiter ‘took his own life with his service weapon,’ review board concludes

BALTIMORE — The Independent Review Board tasked with reviewing the November 2017 death of Baltimore City police detective and York County resident Sean Suiter released its report Tuesday.

The board concluded that Suiter, 43, intentionally took his own life with his service weapon. The board listed evidence to back up its conclusion, which includes factors that indicate a self-inflicted wound:

  • A portion of the gun barrel was in contact with Suiter’s head at the
    time the fatal shot was fired;
  • Suiter is right-handed, and the bullet entered the right side of Suiter’s
    head;
  • The gun that killed Suiter had polygonal rifling, consistent with a
    Glock, which was Suiter’s service weapon;
  • Suiter’s DNA was found inside the barrel of Suiter’s Glock and on its
    surface, meaning that Suiter’s weapon fired the fatal bullet. No other
    DNA was present;
  • The remains of the fatal bullet are consistent with department-issued
    ammunition and the firearm issued to Detective Suiter (but could not
    be confirmed as Suiter’s Glock due to deformation of the projectile);
  • All three spent shell casings found at the scene came from Suiter’s
    weapon;
  • Blood spatter was found on the inside of Suiter’s right dress shirt cuff,
    indicating that Suiter’s hand and arm were in as high a position as was
    the entrance wound at the time the fatal shot was fired, with blood
    being expelled into Suiter’s sleeve;
  • Suiter was trained in self-defense in both the military and the police,
    and specifically was trained to use the gun slide to disable the weapon
    if attacked;
  • Trace amounts of DNA, which may be attributed to two officers who
    carried Suiter from the lot for hospital transport, were found on his
    person. Apart from that, no DNA other than Suiter’s was located on
    his person;
  • The autopsy revealed no defensive wounds, such as abrasions on the
    knuckles, hands or arms, and Suiter was found with his police radio
    still in his left hand, which is inconsistent with a struggle;
  • Video from a neighbor’s video camera and testimony of two witnesses
    establish that a suspect would have had a couple of seconds at most to
    disarm Suiter, shoot him with his own weapon, erase any trace of his
    presence, and exit the vacant lot without being seen or heard;
  • Suiter was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury the
    following day in connection with the BPD Gun Trace Task Force
    (“GTTF”) corruption investigation;
  • Suiter was considered a “subject” of that investigation, and another
    GTTF member had implicated Suiter in criminal wrongdoing; and
  • Suiter’s attorney repeatedly attempted to contact Suiter the afternoon
    of November 15 to confirm a meeting that evening at 5 p.m., but
    Suiter ignored the calls and texts.

As mentioned above, Suiter died November 15, a day before he was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in connection with a corruption investigation involving the police department’s Gun Trace Task Force. According to the report, Suiter was implicated by a fellow officer but if he provided truthful information during testimony, he would be granted limited immunity.

On the day of his death, Suiter was investigating a triple-homicide in the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore with Detective Bomenka, who wasn’t his usual partner. The report says Suiter requested Bomenka accompany him.

Surveillance video in the area captured Suiter’s and Bomenka’s movements as they were driving to and walking around the area. Video revealed the moments prior to Suiter’s death.

You can read the full report here.