A young black woman was dead and a 5-year-old hospitalized Monday as the result of a police shooting near Baltimore, Maryland. Korryn Shandawn Gaines was fatally shot in Randallstown after officers arrived at her home to serve an arrest warrant on her and a man who lived with her. The 23-year-old had threatened the police with a gun, according to a statement from the Baltimore County government.
"We are of course extremely upset at an event like this," NBC News reported county police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said at news conference. "We do not like to be in a position of having to use lethal force, but this was a situation where our officers exercised patience for hours and hours."
The officers in question went to Gaines' home early Monday to arrest her for skipping court for traffic violations and charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The man with her was wanted for assault. When they arrived, Gaines and the man wouldn't open the door, but officers heard the couple talking and a kid crying.
Police then got keys to the apartment, and upon opening the door "the officer saw a woman sitting on the floor and pointing a long gun at him," according to the statement. The man made a break for it with a 1-year-old and was eventually caught.
Gaines, the 5-year-old and the police began a roughly five-hour standoff. At one point, Gaines "once again pointed her weapon directly at a tactical officer and said, 'If you don't leave, I'm going to kill you,'" according to the statement. That's when the officers opened fire. Gaines shot back, but no police were injured. She was killed, and the nearby child was struck in an extremity. Investigators haven't yet determined whose gunshot hit him.
Body camera footage might help clear that up, but Armacost told reporters she didn't know whether the incident had been filmed. The department announced last year plans to put body cameras on about 1,400 officers, but the program only actually launched last month.
The Independent reported that Gaines had posted videos of the standoff on social media that were later deleted. Questions about the recordings were cropping up frequently on Twitter Tuesday as Gaines' name trended and people mourned her alongside other recent victims of police shootings. The Associated Press found records identifying Gaines as black.
"My niece is a good person; I never knew her to be a rowdy person," her uncle Jerome Barnett told the Baltimore Sun.
See Twitter posts about Gaines below: