The Baltimore homicide detective who was shot in the head Wednesday has died, police said.
Police on Thursday identified the officer as Detective Sean Suiter, an 18-year veteran of the city police force and a husband and father of two. In an email to the department, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Suiter died surrounded by his family.
“His tragic death will forever impact the BPD,” Davis wrote in the email, obtained by The Baltimore Sun. “Each of you go out there and put your lives on the line every single day. The importance of your sacrifice, and Sean’s, can’t be overstated.”
Baltimore police and their federal partners continued a massive manhunt Thursday for the suspect. Authorities offered a $69,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Police say Suiter was shot in a notoriously violent section of the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore while investigating another killing. An entire city block remained cordoned off Thursday morning as police scoured the area and cadets began canvassing door to door for information.
Officials said they were still engaged in a “tactical” operation in the neighborhood. They would not provide any additional information about the operation or whether they believed the gunmen could still be in the vicinity.
“We need to make sure that we collect every bit of evidence and make sure that the shooter is nowhere nearby,” Davis said Wednesday outside of the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where Suiter was being treated.
Mayor Catherine Pugh said Thursday morning she could not provide any updates. She said she intended to meet with Davis at Shock Trauma “a little bit later on.”
Davis said late Wednesday that Suiter was in the neighborhood doing “follow-up” on a homicide case when he saw a man engaged in suspicious activity. Suiter attempted to speak to the man, Davis said, and was shot.
A police source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly, said Suiter was in the neighborhood trying to find a witness for a pending case when he and another detective saw someone suspicious in a vacant lot in the middle of the block.
The two detectives split up, apparently to try to cover different exits of the block, when the shooting occurred, the source said.
Davis said the “cold, callous” shooter was still at large Wednesday night.
The reward is being offered by the Baltimore divisions of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Metro Crime Stoppers.
“With this community, we’re going to identify him, we’re going to arrest him, and we’re going to ensure justice is done,” Davis said.
Authorities asked anyone with information to contact the Baltimore FBI office at 1-800-CALL-FBI, Baltimore police detectives at 410-396-2100, or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP. Tips can also be texted to Baltimore police via 443-902-4824.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said on Twitter that the “individual responsible for this heinous crime will be found, charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Baltimore Police has our full support as they track down this violent criminal and bring him to justice,” he said.
Suiter’s shooting, in the 900 block of Bennett Place about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, was the second of a law enforcement officer in West Baltimore this month. Sgt. Tony Anthony Mason Jr., 40, a District of Columbia police officer who lived in Baltimore, was shot to death in the 2800 block of Elgin Avenue on Nov. 4. He was off duty at the time.
It also came a week after Pugh said violent crime in the city was “out of control,” and Davis blasted prosecutors and judges alike for allowing violent repeat offenders back onto the city’s streets.
There have been 308 homicides in Baltimore in 2017, the third consecutive year of more than 300 killings.
Wednesday evening, the detective’s family gathered around him at Shock Trauma, officials said.
Pugh said “enough is enough.”
“Crime has to come to an end in the city,” she said. “This kind of violence cannot be tolerated.”
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby called the shooting an “act of cowardice.” She said she wanted his family to know it would not go unpunished.
“I want them to rest assured that we will do our part to ensure that the perpetrator of this offense is brought to justice,” she said.
(The Baltimore Sun’s Colin Campbell and Talia Richman contributed to this story.)
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