Police Warn Against ‘Fake’ GoFundMe Pages Created for Slain Detective

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Collage in remembrance of Det. Sean Suiter via Baltimore Police Department/Twitter

Maryland has rallied in full force around the family and colleagues of Det. Sean Suiter, who was gunned down Wednesday afternoon at an infamously violent intersection in Harlem Park, offering bountiful prayers and support. However, the people who have created online fundraisers for Suiter are not contributing to that honest effort, police say.

Chief T.J. Smith, spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, said in an email to news outlets last night that any GoFundMe pages set up to raise money for Suiter’s wife and kids are scams.

“Sadly, there are people who capitalize off of tragedy,” he wrote. “The Suiter family HAS NOT set up a Go Fund Me page. Any pages that are purportedly for Det. Suiter are fake.”

A search on GoFundMe turned up empty Friday morning, but according to The Sun, several pages were set up Thursday night before the operators took them down. One was created by retired BPD officer Aaron Shields on behalf of his group of retired cigar-smoking police officers, the Maryland chapter of the Smoking Shields.

Shields told the newspaper the fundraiser was in earnest – it raised $400 before it was taken down – and that they planned to give the money to the police department: “Even though we’re retired, that doesn’t mean we don’t still bleed blue.”

Suiter, an 18-year veteran of the police department and a former U.S. Naval officer, was conducting an investigation into an open 2016 homicide case on Wednesday when he was killed.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said at a press conference yesterday that Suiter was dressed in typical homicide detective garb – a suit and tie, with his badge showing – when he a approached a “man engaged in suspicious behaviors” in a vacant lot at the corner of Bennett Place and Fremont Avenue. The man then pulled out a gun and shot him in the head.

Suiter died at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center the following morning, leaving behind a wife and five children.

Davis promised to catch his killer, who remains at large: “We will find the person responsible for this ridiculous, absurd, unnecessary loss of life.”

The feds and Baltimore police have ponied up nearly $70,000 as a reward for tips leading to the shooter’s arrest and conviction. Gov. Larry Hogan upped the ante yesterday, offering $100,000 from the state to find the man responsible.

Police have maintained a heavy police presence in Harlem Park over the last two days. Smith warned media to steer clear of tactical teams operating in the area Friday morning.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
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