Baltimore, MD – A 17-year-old boy armed with a stolen gun was shot by Baltimore police during a foot pursuit last week after ignoring repeated commands to stop and drop his weapon (video below).
The suspect’s family members have identified him as 17-year-old Mekhi Franklin, WBAL reported.
Baltimore police released bodycam footage of the encounter on Tuesday.
Police said the incident began at approximately 1:25 p.m. on May 11, when an officer spotted a teen who he believed was carrying a concealed firearm in the 2500-block of McHenry Street, WBAL reported.
Baltimore Police Deputy Commissioner Brian Nadeau said the suspect “had a bulge near his waistband,” which caught the attention of police and resulted in the decision to approach him.
Baltimore Police Commission Michael Harrison said during a media briefing on Tuesday that officers are trained to watch for signs of a concealed firearm, such as “particular bulges” and “the way the person stands or swings their arms or the shift in body stance,” WBFF reported.
“It is the way they adjust their arms to either keep the firearm from falling through their waistline or to support it and keep it up,” the commissioner added. “Then, there’s sometimes fidgeting – we’ll see someone fidgeting with something that’s not in a pocket.”
The officer who made contact with Franklin was later identified as Baltimore Police Detective Cedrick Elleby, WBFF reported.
Det. Elleby has been with the department for four years.
“The officer was out of the car, which citizens are asking officers to do; engaging and disarming, if you will,” Commissioner Harrison said, according to WBAL. “The officer took a seat next to this individual and was engaging, until the officer’s actions escalated because the individual took flight.”
Bodycam footage showed Det. Elleby chasing Franklin through the neighborhood.
At one point during the pursuit, the teen pulled a gun from his waistband with his right hand while running down the street, WBFF reported.
“Stop, stop, stop!” the detective ordered. “Put the gun down! Put the gun down!”
He then fired four rounds, hitting the teen once, WBAL reported.
Franklin dropped his weapon as he collapsed to the pavement, the video showed.
“The decision of whether to use deadly force is always based on the need – reasonable, proportionate and necessary – and the officer has to determine that in a second, in a nanosecond,” Commissioner Harrison told reporters, according to USA Today.
Baltimore police seized the firearm and identified it as a Smith and Wesson 9mm equipped with an extended magazine and loaded with four rounds, WBAL reported.
The gun was reported in June of 2021 as having been stolen from a vehicle, according to police.
Franklin was transported to a local hospital, where he was listed in stable condition on Monday, WBAL reported.
His family members said the teen lost multiple organs due to the shooting, according to WBFF.
It is unclear whether Franklin will face any charges, USA Today reported.
Commissioner Harrison said that decision will be made by Baltimore prosecutors.
Det. Elleby has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as per protocol.
“While we do not have all of the answers today, less than a week into this investigation, our department is committed to doing a thorough, transparent and extensive investigation alongside our state’s attorney’s office,” Commissioner Harrison said, according to WBFF.
The commissioner refused to comment on whether Det. Elleby acted in accordance with the department’s policies, USA Today reported.
Critics have been blasting police over the shooting since immediately after it occurred, and claimed the officer chased the teen down and shot him in the back for absolutely no reason, according to the news outlet.
“He was harassing him!” Franklin’s mother, Kieria Franklin, told WJZ. “My son has called his oldest brother and told him that the cop has been harassing him – stalking him – for no reason.”
Commissioner Harrison said the events that may or may not have transpired prior to the shooting remain under investigation.
“We understand the high level of scrutiny that results from any use of force by our officers,” Commissioner Harrison said during the news conference. “We do not take that scrutiny lightly.”
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office has declined to conduct its own investigation into the officer-involved shooting, according to WJZ.
Det. Elleby and his partner are members of the Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) specialized District Action Team, which aims to reduce crime in high-violence areas, USA Today reported.
The BPD said they received at least 150 calls for service in the area where the shooting occurred over the course of the past month alone, according to WBAL.
Commissioner Harrison said the neighborhood is a “historically violent area,” USA Today reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content:
WARNING: ⚠️GRAPHIC CONTENT⚠️ Baltimore Police has released bodycam footage of an officer-involved shooting in which a teen was shot. It’s important to note that several media outlets did not include the fact that the teen brandished a gun & turned towards the cop. @BaltStreetNews pic.twitter.com/IqjZO3X9oJ
— MoCo PG News (@MoCoPGNews) May 17, 2023