BALTIMORE — Lawyers representing the family of a woman fatally shot in a standoff with Baltimore County police have added two more officers to a wrongful death lawsuit they filed in September.
Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon announced the updated complaint Tuesday.
Korryn Gaines was shot and killed during an hourslong standoff in her Randallstown apartment. Police have said Gaines wielded a shotgun at officers who came to her apartment to serve an arrest warrant stemming from a March 10 traffic stop that included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Gaines’ 5-year-old son was also struck.
Gaines posted much of the standoff on social media until her Facebook account was suspended after requests from the police department. Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said they made the request because Gaines’ followers were leaving comments encouraging her not to comply with officers’ demands.
Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger declined to file charges against the officers involved and instead ruled the shooting justified. But attorneys representing Gaines’ family say the officers violated her rights by illegally entering her apartment without a search warrant.
The updated complaint identifies the officer who killed Gaines for the first time by his full name, Officer 1st Class Royce Ruby. Two other officers, John Dowell and Allen Griffin, were also named.
Gordon on Tuesday said the officers responsible for taking Gaines’ life during the Aug. 1 interaction shot Gaines not because she was dangerous, but because they were frustrated by the lengthy standoff and her refusal to follow their commands. Gordon said Gaines offered several times to surrender to officers if they agreed to put down their weapons but the officers wouldn’t lower their guns.
Gordon also alleged Tuesday that evidence he and his legal team have acquired from Shellenberger’s office “supports some level of premeditation” for the killing, but he did not elaborate.
Prosecutors say that police were told by Gaines’ fiance after the standoff began that she suffered from a mental illness and had not been taking her medications. The narrative provided by Shellenberger’s office said that during the standoff there were times when Gaines spoke calmly and others where she “screamed and acted irrationally.” She said repeatedly that the police had no authority over her and were there to kidnap her. She also said “that when she and her son were dead, the news would report it and the world would know, and that it would be worth it as she took at least one of the officers with her,” the narrative said.
The narrative says she was shot after she stopped communicating with officers and an officer saw her starting to raise the shotgun to a firing position toward officers.
But Gordon painted a very different picture Tuesday. He disputed the claim that Gaines was mentally ill and said officers had never called in a crisis intervention unit to help with negotiations. He said Ruby shot Gaines through a wall because he was “frustrated,” and that the fact that he fired while her child was in the room “shows a reckless indifference to the life of a five-year-old child.”
The names of attorneys representing the officers are not publicly available.