The Baltimore Police Department on Tuesday released body camera footage from a shooting that killed an East Baltimore man last week and that involved an officer who has been involved with four previous fatal shootings.
Officers Christopher Mumey and Daniel Pevarnik and Sgt. Joe Wiczulis were driving in the same vehicle and working crime suppression in the 1800 block of N. Chester St., at approximately 6 p.m. on March 30, when they responded to shots fired, said Brain Nadeau, deputy commissioner for BPD’s Public Integrity Bureau.
“They’re still shooting. They’re still shooting,” one of the officers said as they approached the scene.
When the officers arrived at the scene, driving northbound on N. Chester Street, Etonne Tanzymore had his arm raised. Meanwhile, a woman behind Tanzymore was entering a residence, the video shows.
Nadeau said investigators believe that Tanzymore had been firing at a group who shot a separate man in the leg during an altercation before the officers arrived on scene.
Mumey and Pevarnik exited the vehicle and immediately began shooting at Tanzymore. Wiczulis, who was driving, exited the vehicle after the other two officers and began shooting at Tanzymore as well.
Wiczulis repeatedly instructed two other men in the street to “get on the ground.”
One of the men told Wiczulis that he had been shot in the leg but he did not know by whom. The man said the person who shot him had escaped to an alleyway.
Wiczulis began running northbound on N. Chester Street toward the alley.
Pevarnik took the gun that was next to Tanzymore and tossed it to the side.
After the incident, Tanzymore was taken to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries, Nadeau said.
Nadeau said the man whose leg had been shot was also taken to an area hospital.
BPD also released CCTV footage of the incident. But because that camera was not being monitored and was rotating 360 degrees, the department only showed the moments before officers arrived on the scene until the footage rotated out of view.
The department has put Mumey, Pevarnik and Wiczulis on administrative leave pending results of the investigation, Nadeau said.
The Sun has reported that Wiczulis has killed four other people in the past decade, including three separate incidents in 2010, 2013 and 2016. The 2016 shooting killed a father and son.
Last week’s fatal shooting is still under investigation. But in reference to Wiczulis’ involvement with previous fatal shootings, Nadeau said that “at this point there is no reason why he should not have been on the street that day.”
Since 2016, BPD conducts a performance review with any officer involved in a shooting, which includes a review of officers’ history, Nadeau said.
After the 2016 shooting that Wiczulis had been involved in, the officer was given a performance review and was cleared to be put back on the street, Nadeau said.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment about his perspective on last week’s incident “because the investigation will present its own findings.”
But Harrison did say that when officers encounter an armed subject, their focus is on protecting the most people from harm.
“We were dealing with an armed subject. And when you’re dealing with an armed subject who’s firing a gun, you don’t ask questions,” he said. “You try to save as many people and protect as many people as you possibly can from further harm.”
Trina Roberts, Tanzymore’s cousin and the sister of the man who had been shot in the leg, told the Baltimore Sun that the officers’ actions were excessive.
“It was overkill,” Roberts said. “How can the police department and citizens ever be together when you see things like this happen?”
Harrison also addressed the department’s response to COVID-19 since hundreds of officers have been quarantined.
A total of 309 officers have been quarantined since Maryland confirmed its first cases of the coronavirus a month ago. There are now 115 officers across the department who are quarantined. There have been 12 confirmed cases and 59 tests are pending, Harrison said.
A police officer in the department’s Southwestern District tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, and there are now a total of three positive tests in that district. Meanwhile, 42 officers remain quarantined, while 101 officers have returned to work, Harrison said.
Harrison said the Southwestern District has done deep cleanings of the station and every vehicle. All officers have been screened or tested for the virus.
He added “just about all of our officers” have been given N95 masks. The department is issuing personal protective equipment as more supplies comes in, including disinfectant materials for officers to sanitize their cars and work stations.
“We’re doing much better and we’re working to make sure we can, as much as possible, protect our people to keep social distancing and minimize the exposure to our officers,” Harrison said.
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