Baltimore police officer Sean Suiter, 43, was preparing to testify against fellow officers indicted in a drug-running scheme the day after he was killed with his own service weapon.
Suiter was fatally shot in the head on Nov. 15, and authorities say there is evidence of a struggle, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The homicide detective was scheduled to testify–about a case that alleged police in his city conspired with cops in Philadelphia to sell cocaine and heroin–before a federal grand jury the day after he was murdered. According to a report in Philly.com, the drugs they were going to sell were allegedly seized from the streets of Baltimore.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis stated in a press conference that there is no link between Suiter’s death and the drug-running indictment. “The BPD and the FBI do not possess any information that this incident is part of any conspiracy,” Davis said.
Police say Suiter and a partner were conducting a follow-up investigation on a triple homicide when he saw someone acting suspiciously in a vacant lot and approached. The 43-year-old detective, a married father of five, was shot once in the head. He died the next day.
Surveillance video of the scene was recently released, showing Suiter’s partner seeking cover across the street. Davis acknowledged his innocence in the crime.
“Upon the sound of gunfire, Detective Suiter’s partner sought cover across the street,” Davis said, reading from a prepared statement. “He immediately called 911. We know this because it is captured on private surveillance video that we have recovered.”
Immediately following his death, Davis said Suiter was “just doing his job on behalf of the city” when he was shot.
Authorities are offering a $215,000 award and asking anyone with information that could lead to an arrest in the murder to come forward.
The neighborhood where the officer was shot has a number of vacant row houses and has been the scene of numerous shootings over the years.
Suiter’s murder comes during a particularly violent period in Baltimore.
According to the report, “So far this year, the city of fewer than 620,000 inhabitants has seen over 300 homicides.”