Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Thursday that an investigation into the death of a city police detective who was shot in 2017 hours before he was scheduled to testify in a police corruption case remains open after the city’s police commissioner declared that the death was ruled a suicide and the case is closed.
When pressed on the discrepancy, Mosby told reporters: “The one thing that I can tell you is that, with all open and pending matters, I cannot ethically comment on them. So I can tell you that it is an open and pending matter that, unfortunately, I am unable to comment on.”
Commissioner Michael Harrison said Wednesday that nothing in the Maryland State Police review suggests the death of Det. Sean Suiter should be re-investigated. In August of last year, an independent review board found that Suiter likely died by his own hand on Nov. 15, 2017.
“There is nothing in the report to suggest that Det. Suiter’s death was anything other than a suicide, nor was there any suggestion that the case should be re-investigated or continued,” Harrison said in a statement, according to reports by the Baltimore Sun.
Police initially said that Suiter had been shot with his own gun after he approached a suspicious man while investigating a homicide in West Baltimore. Authorities shut down part of the neighborhood amid a multi-day manhunt for the killer, even offering a six-figure reward for information, which yielded no results.
The State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Suiter’s death a homicide before the investigation was closed and would not confirm if the cause of death had been changed to suicide following the police board’s review.
A spokesman for the medical examiner’s office told WBAL-TV Thursday that “The case is still under investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Office. We don’t discuss cases under investigation.”
Suiter’s partner, Det. David Bomenka, told police the pair went to the Harlem Park neighborhood to conduct a follow-up interview on a triple homicide on Nov. 15. At about 4 p.m., Suiter received a call from his attorney, Jeremy Eldridge, with whom Suiter was supposed to meet at 5 p.m.
Bomenka told investigators that he and Suiter saw a suspicious person in the neighborhood and were searching for him when Suiter walked toward a vacant lot out of Bomenka’s view. Bomenka said he saw Suiter begin to gesture, as if he was waving, before drawing his gun and running into the lot. Bomenka said he heard Suiter yell “Stop! Stop! Stop! Police!” before hearing several gunshots.
The independent review board said it believed that Suiter — who was not a target of the investigation into a 2011 incident in which drugs were planted on a man who fled police and got into a fatal crash — may have taken his own life out of concern his own alleged misconduct could be exposed by his testimony.
The board’s report said FBI agents attempted to interview Suiter a few weeks before his death. They said he declined and was served with a subpoena to appear before the grand jury. He had an offer of “limited immunity” from federal investigators, they said. The report suggests he likely faced a “difficult choice” concerning the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.