City video surveillance footage shows a man charging at police officers before they shot him, putting him in critical, yet stable condition on Sunday.
On Monday, police released footage of a traffic stop that occurred where an unarmed 35-year-old man was shot and wounded by an officer in the 1000 block of N. Fremont Ave. in West Baltimore. This is a rare instance in which surveillance images from a police shooting are released while the shooting remains under investigation.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the footage shows the patrol car signaling over a black Nissan Altima over. The driver pulls his sedan into a snowbank, exits his car and approaches the patrol car before the officer gets out. When the officer does open his door, the man quickly charges, forcing the officer to retreat.
The CitiWatch camera footage, which does not include audio, does not show what happened next. Police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez stated that the officer, backpedaling in a “tactical retreat,” fired multiple times.
After he had been shot, one of the many backup officers also used a Tazer on the man as police “tried to gain custody,” Rodriguez said. “This individual was clearly going through some kind of crisis.”
The man whose actions are described by Rodriguez as “very unusual” and “very menacing and threatening, “ will face charges.
The man, Jeffery Blair Jr., was breathing on his own Monday after surgery. His cousin, Gerard King, says Blair was shot in the stomach, chest and hand. Blair, a Baltimore resident, is a married father who works for law firms as an information technology professional. Court records show no prior arrest in the state of Maryland.
King called Blair a “teddy bear kind of guy” but admitted Blair seemed to be struggling since November when he began to isolate himself.
“He’s had a rough patch over the last couple of months, but never anything really violent or anything like that,” King said.
Blair’s family is trying to learn more about the incident and civil rights leaders are also keeping a close watch.
“We’re definitely interested in hearing more in relation to what transpired and what precipitated the stop initially and how this came to be,” said the Rev. Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon of the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.