Body camera footage has been released by police showing the moment an officer arrives at a Baltimore street to find a man dead and his colleague injured after a shootout in a residential Baltimore street.
The video from the camera worn by officer Steven Foster captures the end of an exchange of gunfire in which his fellow officer Phillip Lippe was wounded and a man, identified as 29-year-old Nathaniel Sassafras, was killed.
It is not clear how the confrontation between Officer Lippe and Sassafras started, or how fired the first shots.
Officer Steven Foster tries to help fellow officer Phillip Lippe who has just been wounded in a shootout with a suspect
Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said only that the police officers were in Poppleton as a routine part of a new push to suppress violent crime, having stepped up their presence in the city.
‘We have taken extra steps with extra personnel to address the violence.
‘This was part of the initiative,’ Tuggle said, adding that Sassafras was not someone they were specifically targeting.
Officer Phillip Lippe was shot by 29-year-old Nathaniel Sassafras, police said. Lippe was hit three times; in his arm and in the bullet proof vest he wor
The gunfire erupted at around 6.30pm and lasted until just before 7pm in the area of 800 block of Vine Street and Fremont Avenuel, in the west Baltimore neighborhood of Poppleton
The gunfire erupted at around 6.30pm on Sunday September 23 and lasted until just before 7pm in the area of 800 block of Vine Street and Fremont Avenuel, in the west Baltimore neighborhood of Poppleton.
In the bodycam video, Foster speeds towards the scene and when he arrives the suspect is down and Lippe has been hit three times; in his arm and in the bullet proof vest he wore, WBALTV reported.
Authorities also released photos of the gun used by Sassafras and Lippe’s damaged body-worn camera, which was beyond repair.
‘The suspect who shot the officer was fatally wounded,’ Tuggle said.
Lippe suffered non life-threatening gunshot wounds and was released from hospital on Monday.
The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police said the officer is in good spirits.
Both officers were wearing activated body cameras, but Lippe’s camera was shot and its footage irretrievable.
At one point during the footage one of the officers can be heard saying ‘cameras off’. It is unclear whether he meant they are off, or whether they should be turned off.
The body camera worn by three-year police veteran Officer Lippe’s was shot and its footage irretrievable
The gun recovered from suspect Nathaniel Sassafras, who was out on parole while serving time for second-degree murder, use of handgun in crime of violence and second-degree assault
Nathaniel Sassafras was serving 20 years from June 2004 for second-degree murder, 5 years concurrent for use of handgun in crime of violence and 1 year and 1 day for second-degree assault, police said.
He was on parole since January 18, having the mandatory amount of time, which in Maryland is at least half the sentence. Sassafras had served 13 and a half years, which exceeded that, officials said.
The Police Department held the scene for incident investigation, and the crime scene was released around 7am.