(Reuters) - Investigators in Baltimore have found no conspiracy behind the shooting death of a homicide detective killed the day before he had been set to testify against fellow officers accused of graft, the city’s police commissioner said on Wednesday.
Sean Suiter, 43, was shot once with his own gun at close range during a struggle in the Harlem Park neighborhood on Nov. 15, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told a news conference.
Suiter died the next day, when he had been scheduled to testify to a federal grand jury in a case against eight members of the department’s gun task force, indicted in March on charges of conspiring with drug dealers, among others, the Baltimore Sun newspaper said.
“The BPD and FBI do not possess any information that this incident ... is part of any conspiracy,” Davis said.
It is not clear whether Suiter’s testimony would have helped incriminate or exonerate the officers.
“There is no evidence whatsoever” that Suiter’s scheduled testimony in the federal case led to his homicide, Davis said.
Suiter, an 18-year veteran of the force, was not the target of any criminal investigation, Davis said.
“There is no information that has been communicated to me that Detective Suiter was anything other than a stellar detective, great friend, loving husband and dedicated father,” he said of the father of five.
Suiter went to the west side neighborhood with his partner to investigate a triple homicide in 2016. There he happened to come upon a person acting suspiciously and spontaneously went to investigate, Davis said.
“There was no broadcast, no telegraphing by these detectives to that community, or anyone in that community, that they were going to be there,” Davis said.
“For them to be in that area investigating a murder is something that is completely normal and routine.”
Suiter was involved in a brief and violent struggle, going by evidence found on his clothing and a brief radio transmission that also captured the sound of gunfire, Davis said.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez