The day 27-year-old Hunter Jessup was fatally shot by members of the Baltimore Police Department’s District Action Team, video showed, he wore gray sweats and black sneakers as he ran east down the sidewalk Nov. 7 in the 2600 block of Wilkens Avenue in the Millhill neighborhood of West Baltimore.
He held a Glock 23 with an extended magazine in his right hand with numerous officers chasing him on foot.
Officers can be heard shouting several times “he’s holding!” “gun in his hand!” “get on the ground,” and “drop the gun,” before a barrage of shots were fired, according to footage taken from body-worn cameras and released by police Friday afternoon.
Jessup also wore a backpack and had what appeared to be a plastic shopping bag stuffed into one of the pockets of his sweatshirt.
One of the officers, Brittany Routh, almost intercepted him. Her body camera footage showed she was slightly ahead of him when she attempted to tackle him from the side as she exited the car in which she was riding and bolted onto the sidewalk.
The moment, captured clearly, appeared to show her attempting to grab him even though his gun was plainly in view — albeit not aimed at her.
Jessup darted to his right, avoiding the tackle by a split second — a near miss that might have significantly altered the outcome of that day.
Routh, one of four officers who opened fire, appeared to come within grasp of Jessup before falling to the ground. A second later, officers opened fire, striking Jessup numerous times, although the precise number has not yet been determined by police. A flurry of gunshots can be heard on the footage, taken from the cameras of four of the six officers present at the shooting.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said four officers fired a total of 36 rounds. Those four officers — Routh, William Healy, Justin Oliva, and Brandon Columbo — were all placed on routine administrative leave, Worley said, and referred to the department’s health and wellness team.
Worley said Jessup fired at least one shot, which the footage supported. The shot appeared to hit the trunk of a parked Ford Focus and was fired in the direction of Healy, one of the pursuing officers. Worley said the gun appeared to be made up of parts from several weapons.
Worley said seven bullet casings were recovered at the scene that match the extended magazine, but police have not yet confirmed they were fired from Jessup’s handgun.
“As soon as he turns to me with his weapon and he points the weapon at me, that means he’s going to try to kill me or shoot me, and I would shoot right back at him,” Worley said. “We’re taught to shoot to incapacitate until that person is no longer a threat to our officers and the public.”
In the footage, Jessup, who was under the supervision of the state’s Division of Parole and Probation, fell to the ground almost immediately after officers opened fire. He was alive and conscious while lying on the sidewalk. Officers kicked the gun out of his reach. Worley said officers began to administer first aid within 90 seconds, but Jessup died shortly thereafter.
The officers who opened fire were among six members of two District Action Teams on routine patrol that day in a neighborhood that Worley described as a high-crime area that has seen “a lot of violence,” including homicides.
Deputy Commissioner Brian Nadeau gave this account of what happened in the minutes before the shooting: One of the teams encountered two men standing at the corner of Brunswick Street and St. Benedict Street, one block from Wilkens Avenue; one of the men was Jessup.
Police suspected the two men might be carrying weapons, although it’s unclear what exactly made them think so. They asked both men to pull up their shirts. Both complied — footage shows an unidentified man (not Jessup) exposing his waistband with no weapon in view.
When Jessup, who was out of the frame of the camera during the stop and could not be seen, pulled up his shirt, police noticed a “bulge.” As officers exited the vehicle, Jessup ran away, Nadeau said.
Within about 30 seconds from the time he fled, footage shows, Jessup was shot.
Nadeau said the video made public Friday has also been given the U.S. attorney’s office, the state’s attorney’s office, and Baltimore City Office of Equity and Civil Rights.