By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
It has been about 300 days since Baltimore Homicide Det. Sean Suiter was gunned down in the Harlem Park community of West Baltimore Nov. 15 and despite last week’s publishing of the findings of a Baltimore Police Department (BPD), independent investigative review board, their report seems to have sparked even more questions regarding Suiter’s death.
The 127-page report concludes Suiter “likely” committed suicide in November, a conclusion his wife Nicole vehemently disputes.
“…I have the same views and thoughts as the majority of the community and that is my husband did not commit suicide,” Suiter said last week during a press conference. She seized upon the suspicions of many, as I have written before, from Park Heights to Roland Park, who believe Sean Suiter was killed by another member of the BPD. “I don’t make this statement as a heartbroken widow, I make this statement as an aware individual who has evaluated every piece of evidence that has been shown to me. And the knowledge that much evidence has not been presented and inconsistencies I have been told,” she added.
“Based on the fact that no one knew my husband better than I, I will not accept the untimely death of Sean as nothing other than a murder, which is being covered up for reasons unknown to me, or my family,” she said. However, the fact Det. Suiter was scheduled to testify against members of the notorious Gun Trace Task Force the day after he died is more than a coincidence and is perhaps the ultimate “reason” why Suiter was killed in the minds of many, who like Nicole Suiter do not believe he committed suicide.
“I have done the same research and investigations as many others and although I have not publicly spoken thus far, please do not believe I was blinded by the lies, or misleading information,” Suiter added.
During her press conference, she also provided information about the moments before her husband was killed, which allegedly did not make it into the report that concluded he likely took his own life. “Numerous recounts of what may have happened has been speculated. What the community does not know, that I had spoken to my husband less than an hour prior to his murder. Sean was in a great mood and happy spirit. We briefly joked about a video of him dancing that I captured. Who knew that would have been the last time I spoke with my husband? Certainly not I,” Suiter said.
Just weeks after Suiter’s death, rumors began to swirl that the BPD would claim that he killed himself in that alley in the 900 block of Bennett Place. So, the “official” conclusion that the veteran detective took his own life does not come as a shock to many. But, the report concludes Suiter “likely” killed himself, which is a concession the investigators cannot say with 100 percent certainty that he committed suicide.
The truth is we probably will never know exactly what happened to Det. Sean Suiter on that fateful day in November; although the initial reports from the BPD are clear. Suiter was in Harlem Park with Det. David Bomenka, his partner on that day (Bomenka was not Suiter’s regular partner), investigating a recent homicide. At some point during that investigation, Suiter allegedly confronted a “man engaged in suspicious behaviors.”
The original BPD narrative was the suspect in Suiter’s death was a Black man, who wore a black, striped jacket. The search for him forced the lock down of a huge swath of Harlem Park for six days, as investigators hunted a “heartless, ruthless, soulless, killer,” in the words of former BPD Commissioner Kevin Davis. Now, the department wants us to believe that killer was Suiter himself. It is a conclusion many, including Suiter’s widow will never accept.
“I will not sit here and say that I am an overly religious woman,” Nicole Suiter said.
“But, I am a Christian and I do believe in the power of prayer and that has delivered me through this toughest time.”
Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore Editor and the author of, Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.