On Monday night, 23-year-old Korryn Gaines became the ninth black woman killed by police in the United States this year. According to Baltimore County Police accounts, Gaines was holding a rifle during an hours-long standoff when she said “I’m going to kill you” and shot at them.
Officers shot four times in total, killing Gaines. Her son, a five-year-old who was wandering around the apartment, was struck in the arm; he is currently hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital in good condition. Cops are saying it’s unclear whether he was hurt by one of their bullets or one shot by Gaines. The Baltimore County Police Department is currently investigating.
Baltimore County PD held a press conference Tuesday afternoon, with Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson detailing the officer’s account.
According to CBS Baltimore, police went to Gaines’ home in Randallstown to serve two arrest warrants—one to 39-year-old Kareem Kourtney on an assault charge, and one to Gaines, who had a charge related to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest during a traffic stop. Cops say they knocked and no one answered, but they could hear people talking inside. After entering the apartment with a key they say was retrieved from a landlord, Gaines allegedly “began wielding a 12-gauge shotgun around, bringing it into the ready position and directing at the officers.”
In the press conference, Chief Johnson says they are “looking into” whether entry with a key was unlawful.
From there, a seven-hour standoff ensued, during which Gaines used social media to film what was happening. A video collected by CBS Baltimore shows a very quiet scene, in which a woman, presumably Gaines, is whispering to her son (his face is blurred out) as what looks like a man in a SWAT uniform stands in her doorway, but not entirely in the house.
At another point in CBS’s edit, it cuts to an Instagram video Gaines posted two weeks ago of her loading shells into a shotgun near what appear to be ownership papers. The caption read, among other things, “They threw me a charge too late, got my ‘Big Girl’ September of last year. Legit with papers,” implying she purchased the gun legally before she had a warrant for the traffic stop. She also wrote, “Fuck it, let’s dance, I got some rhythm.”
During the live feed and as events with the police unfolded, police reached out to Facebook and had her account “deactivated for negotiation safety,” but footage of her shotgun or any shooting was not streamed.
While Baltimore County Police are implementing a body camera program, it’s still in the early stages. None of the officers present were wearing body cameras.
Correction: A previous version of this piece did not consistently differentiate between Baltimore Police and Baltimore County Police. Jezebel regrets the error.