TOWSON — Criminal charges will not be filed against a police officer in Maryland who fatally shot a man accused of threatening to hurt himself and others.
Baltimore County police announced prosecutors’ decision and released body camera video and 911 audio on Thursday in the fatal shooting of Eric Sopp, 48, news outlets reported.
Sopp’s mother, Catherine Sopp, called police Nov. 26 to report that her son had threatened to kill himself and may be driving while drunk.
In body camera footage released by the department, an officer is seen telling Eric Sopp to put his car in park on Interstate 83 and place his hands on the dashboard. Sopp is then heard saying he is getting out of the car, and the officer tells him not to. When Sopp gets out of the vehicle, the officer fires eight times.
The officer was identified by the department as Officer Page. His first name was not released, but a November release from police said he’d been on the force for 21 years.
Baltimore County Deputy State’s Attorney Robin Coffin said the shooting was “justified” in a letter to county Police Chief Melissa Hyatt, The Baltimore Sun reported. The state’s attorney’s office declined to press charges against the officer. An attorney for Sopp’s family said they are exploring their legal options.
No weapon was recovered from Sopp’s body after the shooting. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Vickie Wareheim declined to say whether a weapon was found in the vehicle or at the scene.
Catherine Sopp released a statement through an attorney Thursday, saying there was no reason for the officer to fatally shoot her son.
“I never imagined that when I called 911 to protect my son and others from him driving drunk, it would cost him his life,” she said.