Maryland police fatally shot an armed black woman who espoused anti-government views and threatened to kill officers during a standoff where her 5-year-old son was wounded, authorities said on Tuesday.
The shooting of Korryn Gaines, 23, of Randallstown, Maryland, about 17 miles northwest of Baltimore, on Monday prompted outrage on social media, reigniting concerns about police use of force, especially against African-Americans.
Gaines pointed a shotgun at Baltimore County officers when they arrived at her apartment to serve warrants on her and Kareem Courtney, 39, her boyfriend, police said.
“When somebody points a gun directly at an officer and threatens to shoot them, it very well may not end well. That is the situation we had in this case,” police spokeswoman Elise Armacost told reporters.
Police said Gaines was live-streaming video during the faceoff and followers were encouraging her not to give in peacefully.
Gaines had faced charges that included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest from a March traffic stop. Courtney was wanted for an assault charge against Gaines.
Courtney, who is also black, fled with a 1-year-old boy and was arrested. Gaines remained in the apartment with her son.
After a standoff of about five hours, an officer fired when Gaines pointed the gun at officers and threatened to kill them. She was then killed in an exchange of fire.
The wounded boy was struck in the arm and is in good condition at a hospital, police said. Who fired the round that hit him is not known.
Police did not give the race of the officers involved.
During the March traffic incident, officers stopped Gaines for driving with pieces of cardboard in the place of license plates, a police report said.
One of them had written on it, “Any Government official who compromises this pursuit to happiness and right to travel will be held criminally responsible and fined, as this is a natural right and freedom.”
She tossed the officers’ citations out the window. She said they “would have to ‘murder’ her” to get her out of her car so it could be towed, the report said.
Armacost said Gaines espoused anti-government views but did not know if she belonged to a specific anti-government group.
Facebook deactivated Gaines’ account during the standoff at the request of police.
The hash tags #KorrynGaines and #SayHerName trended heavily on Twitter. Videos showing Gaines’ encounter with police went viral.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington and by Angela Moon in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andrew Hay)