On the morning of Aug. 1, officers with the Baltimore County Police Department arrived at the Randallstown apartment of Korryn Gaines to serve warrants on her and her fiance, Kareem Courtney. After a standoff that lasted about six hours, Gaines was dead from police gunfire. County prosecutors would rule the shooting justified, and no charges would be filed against officers.
Through a public records request, The Baltimore Sun obtained a trove of evidence in the case. The case file includes officer statements, police radio chatter, and crime scene photographs, as well as videos and audio recordings taken by Gaines during the standoff.
About 9:10 a.m., officers arrived at Gaines' Randallstown apartment to serve warrants on her and her fiance, Kareem Courtney. Her warrant was for her failure to appear in court on charges related to a traffic stop in March. His warrant was for an assault charge related to domestic violence alleged by Gaines in June.
When no one let them in, police got a key from the rental office but found the chain lock blocked their entry. An officer then kicked in the door. Police say Gaines pointed a shotgun at an officer, telling him to leave.
Courtney left the apartment with the couple's 1-year-old daughter; Gaines remained inside with her 5-year-old son. At 9:41 a.m., officers reported a barricade situation.
Gaines previous arrest report
Warrant for arrest of Kareem Courtney
9:41 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Police transmission
Still of apartment complex
The front door of Korryn Gaines' apartment
As the minutes passed, officers outside of Gaines' apartment door tried to convince her to put down her gun and come out. Gaines didn't budge. Outside, police amassed more resources. Gaines began recording parts of her conversations with police on her phone, including one in which an officer says he just wanted to talk to her and promises she would not be hurt.
10:23 a.m. - Gaines appears seated with gun, yelling at officers
10:24 a.m. - Gaines exchanges comments with officer.
10:56 a.m. - An officer/negotiator talks to Gaines from her door
Apartment layout blueprint
12 - 2 p.m. - Police transmission
Hours passed by. Gaines continued to record video on her phone, and post on social media. At 12:24 p.m., she recorded a video saying the "devil" was at her door, referring to police. Outside, officers obtained a warrant for her arrest on charges related to her allegedly pointing her gun at the officer who entered the apartment. Family members tried to reach Gaines, as did a police negotiator, by phone. At one point, Gaines had her son, Kodi, film an officer in the doorway to the apartment. He motioned for the boy to come out, but the child stayed inside.
12:24 p.m. - "For anybody who want to know what I'm doing ... devil at my door"
12:43 p.m. - Warrant issued for Gaines' arrest based on standoff
1:12 p.m. - Voice message from grandmother
1:12 p.m. - Voice message from police
1:16 p.m. - Officer motions to Kodi to come out
In a phone conversation she recorded with a police negotiator, Gaines described her March traffic stop as traumatic, saying that she had been mistreated by police and that it led to her miscarriage of twins. The negotiator told Gaines that the police, at this point, could not simply leave. Gaines said she believed that the officers at her door were trying to take her back to the Woodlawn precinct, where she said she had been mistreated. She told the negotiator about Courtney being in prison, and said the police were again trying to disrupt their peaceful family life.
1:41 p.m. - Korryn talking to 911/police
1:52 - 1:57 p.m. - Korryn talking to police negotiator
Gaines recorded a video, shot from below, in which she is holding the shotgun. She bounces, shifting her weight from foot to foot, her son next to her. About 45 minutes later, an officer came across the police radio, saying shots were fired. Moments before, police noted it appeared her Facebook and Instagram had been taken down. Police had asked the companies to deactivate the accounts.
In a subsequent statement to police, the officer who fired the shots, Officer Royce Ruby Jr., wrote that he fired after Gaines raised her gun in the direction of his fellow officers. He said he feared for their lives. He wrote that he fired again after entering the apartment because Gaines had again raised her shotgun in his direction and he feared for both his life and her son's life.
Gaines was killed in the gunfire. Her son was wounded.
2:40 p.m. - From below, holding shotgun up, shaking with Kodi
3:25 p.m. - "Back off ... shots fired ... get a medic"
Officer Ruby's statement/interview
2 – 4 p.m. – Police transmission
After Ruby shot Gaines multiple times, a medic was called into the apartment. Gaines was pronounced dead in the apartment's kitchen. Kodi was taken to a hospital. Ruby gave his weapon to a superior. Photographs show the apartment of a young family suddenly transformed into a crime scene: a police rifle leaning against a wall next to a box of Pampers diapers, a baby rocker feet from Gaines' shotgun on the floor, and a trail of blood leading out of the kitchen.
Still of officer's gun, pampers
Still of Gaines' shotgun
Still of baby rocker, blood trail, shotgun
Evidence marker, blood
In the weeks that followed, Gaines' death gained attention from across the nation. Gaines' family alleged police wrongdoing, and filed a lawsuit in September. Baltimore State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger declined to file charges against Ruby and the other officers involved in the incident. In mid-October, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the Baltimore County Police Department would fast-track its efforts to equip county officers with body cameras.
Shellenberger files no charges
Korryn Gaines' family and attorney speaks out
Shellenberger declination letter
Baltimore County announces acceleration of body camera program
Written by Alison Knezevich and Kevin Rector
Interactive by Jin Kim and Adam Marton
Multimedia editing by Emma Patti Harris and Kalani Gordon
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