ESSEX, Md. — Relatives of a Maryland man who was shot and killed by a police officer are questioning why the officer used deadly force after responding to a “nuisance” call.
Family members of Robert Johnson Jr., 29, of Owings Mills, told the Baltimore Sun that he argued with a neighbor about a fender bender before the neighbor called police and said Johnson was armed.
A Baltimore County Police Department news release said the first officer to arrive at a complex of townhomes in Essex on May 16 fired his weapon after he was “confronted with” an armed suspect. A department spokeswoman, Officer Jennifer Peach, said the officer could see a gun fall to the ground when Johnson exited his vehicle.
Alexis Jackson, a cousin of Johnson’s, told the newspaper that Johnson had dropped a gun and didn’t pose a threat. Jackson’s mother, LaKisha Chase, said Johnson had exited the car with his hands up.
“It was senseless,” Chase said. “They didn’t have to shoot him like that.”
The relatives said they have hired an attorney.
Johnson had been celebrating his cousin’s 15th birthday at the complex. Johnson died after he was taken to a hospital.
Freddie Jackson, Johnson’s 20-year-old brother, also was shot. Police said he was released from a hospital this week.
The officer was placed on routine administrative leave.
Peach said investigators have body camera video of the incident, but the department hasn’t released it.