Korryn Gaines Video Sparks Debate: Were Baltimore Police Justified In Shooting Woman Who Had 5-Year-Old Son Sitting In Her Lap?

Korryn Gaines filmed a video of her 5-year-old son as police stood outside their home during a standoff, asking the boy if he was aware what the police were trying to do.

“They’re trying to kill us,” the frightened boy answered.

Not long after, police stormed into Korryn’s home, killing her and shooting the 5-year-old as he sat in her arms. The video Korryn filmed shortly before her death has now gone viral online and prompted a debate over whether police were justified in opening fire on the 23-year-old woman.

Details of the shooting are still murky as video of Korryn Gaines and her young son began to spread on Twitter and other social media. The standoff in Baltimore County played out over the course of several hours on Monday, starting when officers arrived at the home at 9:20 a.m. to serve arrest warrants to Gaines and another man who lived in the home, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Police have not released full details on the shooting death of Korryn Gaines, including whether it was Gaines who shot the 5-year-old or police officers, but they have recounted the timeline of the incident and what led up to the shooting.

Police said they arrived at the home after 9 a.m. and knocked on the door repeatedly. Inside they could hear the voices of a man and a woman as well as a crying child, the Sun reported. After retrieving a key to the home from the landlord, police entered to find Korryn Gaines sitting on the floor holding a long gun and the 5-year-old boy sitting in her lap.

That kicked off hours of negotiations in which Gaines raised the gun several times, noted Police Chief Jim Johnson.

“During that dialogue and conversation, she repeatedly pointed a long gun at the police officers,” he said.

Gaines allegedly threatened to kill police officers if they didn’t leave, prompting an officer to fire at her and sparking a shootout between police and Gaines that left her dead and her 5-year-old son wounded. The young boy was taken to a hospital, and his wounds are not considered life-threatening. No officers were wounded during the shooting.

The death of Korryn Gaines and the video she took shortly before the shooting went viral on Twitter late on Monday night, with many condemning police for opening fire even as the young boy sat in the crossfire. Some noted the different treatment police appear to show black suspects compared to their white counterparts.

Many others shared the video of the 5-year-old boy talking to Korryn Gaines during the standoff, which can be seen below.

Others called out the police officers for escalating the situation with Korryn Gaines over what appeared to be minor violations, with some comparing it to recent police shootings of other black suspects.

The case had particular parallels with the killing of Philando Castile last month during a traffic stop in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Like the killing of Korryn Gaines on Friday, Castile’s death also caused a firestorm on social media thanks to a video taken shortly before he died.

Castile’s girlfriend, who was sitting in the passenger seat of his car, filmed the aftermath of the shooting as Castile sat dying in the front seat. She pleaded with the officer to explain why he had shot Castile, who she said was just reaching for his wallet at the time.

But many people had criticism for Korryn Gaines, who seemed to purposely put her child in harm’s way. Some hinted that the woman may have been trying to spark the shootout with police.

Authorities in Baltimore County have not released names of the officers involved in the shooting death of Korryn Gaines, but they said the information will be made public later this week.

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