Det. Sean Suiter was laid to rest Nov. 29, at Mt. Pleasant church in East Baltimore, two weeks after somebody shot him in the head at point blank range (allegedly with his own gun), in a West Baltimore neighborhood notorious for violence. He died the next day.
Despite a reward of at least $215,000, Suiter’s killer remains at large. And the rumors and conspiracy theories about his murder augment and fester.
However, attempting to discern truth from fiction has been difficult. Because, critics argue, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) has engaged in a skillful game of obfuscation connected to the murder of this husband and father of five, who was gunned down one day before he was to testify in a case connected to the notorious Gun Trace Task Force. These are the eight officers indicted on federal charges of racketeering, which allegedly include instances of these officers shaking down Baltimore residents, planting guns and drugs on suspects, selling drugs, filing false police reports, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent overtime submissions and even robbing an exotic dancer in a Baltimore County gentlemen’s club.
“Last week, just before Thanksgiving, commissioner (Kevin Davis) calls a last minute press conference and drops a bombshell on the city, saying that Det. Suiter was a witness, had been summoned to a grand jury investigation related in some way to the eight officers that have been indicted for racketeering…the Gun Trace Task Force,” said my colleague, and AFRO contributor, Stephen Janis, during the Nov. 28 episode of the AFRO First Edition video podcast.
“He (Davis) also put forth the theory that…Det. Suiter’s murder was not related to his testimony, which has a lot of people I talk to in Homicide scratching their heads. How can they know anything at this point? They don’t have a suspect…how can the commissioner start spouting theories on the case?”
Again, Suiter was scheduled to testify in the case connected to the Gun Trace Task Force, Nov. 16, but he was gunned down the day before. Yet, Commissioner Davis somehow felt compelled to tell the people of Baltimore Suiter’s murder had nothing to do with his testimony? Why would Davis promulgate theories about the case given the dubious and disturbing circumstances surrounding Suiter’s death?
Instead of shedding more light on the case, police actions seem to spark more questions.
BPD released an audio transmission of the 9-1-1 dispatch call on Nov. 15, the day Suiter was shot. Listening to the 9-1-1 call revealed that investigators initially located Suiter’s gun and radio, however no bullet casings were discovered. Allegedly, the next day bullet casings were found. BPD had not released the name of Suiter’s partner, who was on the scene of his murder. .
Further, BPD says there is video of the murder scene that shows Suiter’s partner scurrying for cover when the shots are fired, which raises even more questions. Although Suiter’s partner seemed to be in close proximity of his shooting, how come there is no description of the shooter? Why didn’t Suiter’s partner get a look at his murderer? How come Suiter’s partner wasn’t backing him up closely as he investigated a triple homicide in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city? BPD released the audio of the 9-1-1 tape, why haven’t they released video of the murder scene?
“This case… is emblematic of how the mistrust between the police department and the community is hurting the department because most people believe at this point, at least from what you see on social media that this is an inside job,” said Janis, referring to the fact many in the community believe Suiter was killed by one of his own, another member of the BPD. Or at least the killer was somehow enabled by a member of the BPD.
“All of them (law enforcement), to a person says, `Where was his partner?’,” said Janis. “Why is this guy down the street or where was he?
Sean Yoes is Baltimore editor of the AFRO and host and executive producer of the AFRO First Edition video podcast, airing Monday and Friday on the AFRO’s Facebook page.