OWINGS MILLS, Md. (WJZ)—Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has suspended some training academy staff after a campus police trainee was shot in the head by an instructor on Tuesday. That trainee is fighting to survive inside Shock Trauma right now.
Derek Valcourt has the latest on that trainee’s condition and what went wrong.
WJZ has learned that one of the officers at the training exercise put his service weapon back on before going to lunch. When he returned from lunch, he did not switch out his service weapon with the simulation training weapon that they are supposed to use.
As medics rush a University of Maryland police trainee in his 40s onto a waiting Medevac helicopter, Sky Eye Chopper 13 catches officers consoling each other after what police label a tragic accident at the site of the old–now abandoned– Rosewood psychiatric hospital in Owings Mills.
The victim’s family has asked not to release any information about his identity. He remains in critical condition.
It’s unclear what exactly happened. So far investigators will only say the trainee was taking part in a city police training exercise when he was somehow shot in the head with live ammunition by a city police training instructor.
The news outraged Baltimore’s mayor.
“There’s no acceptable explanation why live rounds were used during a training exercise. I was so angry. I was almost speechless,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
The mayor visited the hospital Tuesday and said she personally promised the trainee’s family that the city would get to the bottom of what went wrong.
New police commissioner Anthony Batts immediately shut down all police academy operations until a thorough investigation and review of all safety procedures can be completed.
And WJZ has learned several top commanders at the police academy have all been suspended as a result of this incident.
“Six members of BPD Academy chain of command have had their police powers suspended pending further investigation,” Batts said in a statement. “Counseling, through PCA and our Critical Incident Stress Team, has been provided and will continue to be available to everyone involved.”
Doctors say the victim is out of surgery, in intensive care, and WJZ was told he is responsive.
“But any thoughts or predictions about long-term neurologic outcomes are way, way, way too early,” said Dr. Thomas Scalea, Shock Trauma.
Maryland State Police are now in charge of the investigation.
City police are promising to be open and transparent information on what happened.