Baltimore County Police said in a statement released Thursday that a police officer fatally shot a 19-year-old man who made a "finger gun" gesture at him during a chase after the man tried to use a fake prescription to purchase a narcotic cough syrup.
According to the statement, the young man, identified as Keith Harrison McLeod, was shot and killed on Wednesday after he pointed his finger at a responding police officer, imitating a gun.
But police said they found no weapon on the man after he was shot and killed.
The shooting took place in Reisterstown, a suburban community about 25 miles northwest of the city of Baltimore where 25-year-old African American Freddie Gray died in police custody earlier in the year.
A pharmacist called police after McLeod attempted to use a fake prescription to purchase a narcotic cough syrup -- promethazine plus codeine -- that delivers a high when taken with alcohol, police said.
"Narcotics detectives confirmed that the suspect tried to obtain promethazine plus codeine at the Nature Care pharmacy. This is a narcotic cough syrup, often combined with alcohol to produce a 'high.'"The man took to his heels when he saw police officers. The officers chased him across the street, but he stopped suddenly, and during a "confrontation" with an officer, he ignored police orders to keep his hands up, and instead reached behind, to his back, with a hand.
Police said surveillance footage taken by a camera at the scene of the incident shows the man raising his hand from his back and pointing it at an officer, using his finger to imitate a gun.
"[The man reached] around to the small of his back and abruptly whipped his hand around and pointed it toward the officer, as if with a weapon."According to the police statement, after the young man fell to the ground, he continued "reaching into his waistband as if for a weapon," refusing to comply with orders from the officer.
The officer shot him three times.
He was taken to Northwest hospital where doctors declared him dead despite efforts to save his life, police said on Friday.
The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave, and the incident is under investigation by police authorities.
The latest incident comes after Gray's death sparked protests and riots earlier this year following news that he died from a broken neck. Six officers have been charged in connection with the Gray incident.
[Image: YouTube screengrab/WJZ13]