Prosecutors decline to charge officers in fatal shooting in Baltimore County; family of man killed wants answers

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No police officers will be criminally charged in a shooting outside Security Square Mall in July that left two city officers injured and a murder suspect killed, the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office said this week.

The shooting occurred on July 13 as officers from the federal multi-jurisdictional Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force were serving an arrest warrant on Justin Powell, 32, who was wanted for a murder in Baltimore City, police said. Police said Powell fired multiple shots at officers, injuring two city detectives, as they attempted to approach his vehicle in the Woodlawn mall parking lot.

Baltimore Police identified the injured officers as Detective Anthony Lansey, a 28-year veteran, and Detective Earl Thompson, a 24-year veteran. They suffered non-serious injuries and were released from the Maryland Shock Trauma Center two days after the shooting.

The Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office on Tuesday identified the officers who fired at Powell as Lansey, Thompson and city police Detective M. Spinnato, whose first name is Michael, according to a city salary database. The state’s attorney identified a fourth officer who fired as D. Diamond, a deputy U.S. Marshal. The office did not provide a first name.

Initially, prosecutors, as well as city and county police and the U.S. Marshals declined to name the officers involved in the shooting.

Antonio Gause, senior inspector for the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, said the federal agency does not publicly release names of officers involved in shooting. City police deferred to questions to the federal agency, and county police, which investigated the shooting, did not respond for comment.

Shellenberger identified the officers in a letter to The Baltimore Sun, citing a “desire for full disclosure.”

In a letter formally clearing the officers of wrongdoing, Deputy State’s Attorney Robin S. Coffin, which said the task force members actions were justified after “Powell jumped out of his car and began shooting. Detective Lansey and Detective Thompson each suffered gunshot wounds. ...The Task Force members had no choice but to return fire for the protection of themselves and others in the area. The shooting was justified. Accordingly, this office will take no further action.”

City police said previously that Powell was wanted for the fatal shooting of Ali Hines, 38, who was found by police with multiple gunshot wounds in the 1000 block of W. Lanvale St. on June 19.

City police had issued a warrant for Powell for the June homicide and for possessing a handgun.

Powell’s grandparents Denise and Mike Powell said Tuesday they are still seeking answers in their grandson’s death, and they are frustrated by the lack of communication from authorities since July.

“We haven’t heard anything from anyone,” Denise Powell said. She said her grandson has two young sons and had been working cleaning offices downtown around the time of his death.

Powell said the family is hoping to get her grandson’s possessions back, and to get some clarity about the case. The Powells said the family was not informed about which officers from which agency fired upon their grandson or how many officers were involved.

“They have to be accountable of the actions they took, even if he is criminal,” Mike Powell said.

The U.S. Marshal’s Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force deputizes officers from local and federal agencies, targeting more serious violent offenders in the D.C. region, with offices in Washington, Northern Virginia, and Maryland, the according to the agency’s website.

Officers from the task force were involved in another fatal shooting in February 2020, when officers shot and killed Michael Marullo, 33, who was wanted on an attempted murder warrant in Pennsylvania and fled to Baltimore.

Though Baltimore Police and Baltimore County officers wear body cameras, members of the task force do not wear cameras.

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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