FBI takes lead in Baltimore detective fatal shooting investigation

FBI takes lead in Baltimore detective fatal shooting investigation
The FBI is taking over the investigation of the fatal shooting of a Baltimore homicide detective, Sean Suiter. He was killed with his own gun after approaching a suspicious man in a vacant lot one day before he was due to testify about police corruption.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis made the request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a formal letter submitted Friday.

Detective Suiter was fatally shot in the head on November 15 in what police described was a violent struggle with an unknown suspect in a troubled block of West Baltimore.

Commissioner Davis said he made the decision because the connection between Suiter’s case and a sweeping, ongoing police corruption case, in which Suiter was set to testify as a federal witness, had diminished his faith in his own detectives.

“Our homicide detectives, some of the best in the business, some of the best I’ve ever seen, can’t do their jobs effectively if there is a perception or a reality that we don’t possess all the information that we need to conduct the investigation,” Davis said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

With no arrests in the case, despite a $215,000 reward, and a churning rumor mill about the death and the investigation, Davis said he also sought to address public concerns.

“I understand the anxiety, and folks say, ‘Something just doesn't jive here.’ ... So, in the best interest of the integrity of the investigation, I just believe it's the right thing to do to ask the FBI to assume the lead,” Davis said, according to the Associated Press.

The request to the FBI came a day after US District Grand Jury indicted former Sergeant Wayne Jenkins in the police corruption case that involved Jenkins, one of eight members of the department’s Gun Trace Task Force who have been indicted on federal racketeering charges. Jenkins was indicated on charges of duping colleague Suiter in 2010 into “discovering” drug evidence Jenkins had planted in the car.

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Jenkins has not entered pleas in the case against him. Several other members of the task force have pleaded guilty.

Commissioner David said investigators had looked into the possibility that Suiter committed suicide, but found no evidence to support that theory.