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Baltimore County prosecutors have ruled that the fatal shooting of a 35-year-old man by an off-duty officer outside a Catonsville Giant store this month was legally justified.
County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger announced the decision Monday and released surveillance footage from the grocery store at U.S. 40 and Rolling Road.
On Aug. 1, an off-duty officer, who has been identified only as Officer 1st Class McCain of the Parkville precinct, was working security at the store when he confronted Christopher E. Clapp, who was suspected of shoplifting, in the parking lot, police have said.
According to police, Clapp began driving away, dragging McCain.
In the video released Monday, Clapp’s car is seen coming into view with the officer partially seen next to the driver’s side door. As the vehicle comes to a stop, the officer is seen falling to the ground and then getting up. It is not clear from the video exactly when McCain shot Clapp.
In a letter to the police department released Monday, Deputy State’s Attorney Robin S. Coffin wrote that she had reviewed surveillance footage from the Giant, statements from several eyewitnesses, and the statement of the officer. She wrote that McCain reached into the car “to affect the arrest,” and that Clapp then accelerated and began dragging the officer. McCain “repeatedly ordered Mr. Clapp to stop the car,” she wrote.
“At this point, Officer McCain was reasonably in fear that he would be continually dragged by the car or run over by the car,” Coffin wrote. “Officer McCain was justified in shooting Mr. Clapp to save his own life.”
Under an agreement with the police union, the department does not release the first names of officers involved in shootings.
McCain, a 16-year veteran of the department, was not injured in the incident. A passenger in Clapp’s vehicle was not shot but was taken to the hospital with chest pains after the shooting, according to police.
The officer has been returned to regular duty, a police spokesman, Cpl. Shawn Vinson, said.
Prosecutors released other footage Monday that included scenes from inside the store.
Clapp’s brother said his family still has questions about the case. He said the family had seen some of the surveillance footage, but not all of it.
“The history of this country has shown us that those in power can make determinations and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the whole truth,” Justin Clapp said.
Christopher Clapp grew up in North Carolina and moved to the Baltimore area this past fall, his brother has said. He previously had lived in the area to attend Towson University.
The case has led County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to call for a review of the body camera policy for officers who work second jobs. The department currently doesn’t require officers who moonlight as security guards in their county uniforms to use body cameras.
County police began to phase in body cameras last year, and McCain had not yet been given a camera, according to the department. All uniformed patrol officers are scheduled to have the cameras by Oct. 1.
Shellenberger said that the surveillance video in this case corroborated statements made to investigators by the officer and witnesses, who included a truck driver, a cashier and a customer.
Police records show Christopher Clapp had another encounter with county police a few days before he was killed. On July 29, a patrol officer said he saw a man being chased by an employee of Nikki’s Liquors in the 7500 block of Belair Road. The man tried to get into a vehicle driven by Clapp, and then got out of the vehicle and placed four liquor bottles on the ground. The man was arrested at the scene and charged.
An officer wrote that he asked the driver, later identified as Clapp, to turn off the vehicle.
“He complied then restarted the car and sped off the lot almost causing a collision,” the officer wrote.
Police were planning to charge Clapp with “aiding in the theft and committing several traffic violations,” according to the police report.
McCain has been involved in one previous shooting. In 2006, he was one of two officers who shot at a carjacking suspect who police say drove toward officers. The man survived and the shooting was ruled justified.
Our deepest condolences and sympathies to Corporal Patrick Wilhelm of Precinct 9 in the passing of his mother, Joan Hennigan Wilhelm, on August 12th, 2017.
There will be visitation at the Schimunek Funeral Home located at 610 W. MacPhail Rd. Bel Air, Maryland on Thursday, August 17th from 11a-12:30p followed by a funeral service at 12:30p at the same location.
In lieu of flowers please consider contributions to Stella Maris Hospice.
The Lodge regrets to announce the passing of Margaret McCarty, Beloved Grandmother of Officer Monetta Carter who passed away on August 11, 2017.
Please keep your thoughts and prayers with Monetta and her Family.
Viewing will be at Joseph Brown Funeral Home 2140 North Fulton Avenue Baltimore MD 21233 August 23rd 1500 hours- 2000 hours
Funeral 2140 North Fulton Avenue Baltimore MD 21233 August 24th – 1000 hours
The Lodge regrets to announce the passing of Jason Loizeaux, brother of Adrienne Grant, on Thursday, July 27, 2017.
Funeral services will be privately held through Ruck Funeral Home of Towson, Maryland.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Phoenix Wildlife Center in his name: www.phoenixwildlifecentermd.org or by mail 14530 Manor Road, Phoenix, Maryland 21131. www.ruckfuneralhomes.com
The Lodge regrets to announce the passing of Mrs. Kathy Conway Norris. Mrs. Norris is the stepmother of Lieutenant Michael Norris of the Internal Affairs Section, the wife of retired Captain Charlie Norris and the sister of retired Officer Terry Conway.
Relatives and Friends are invited to attend a Memorial service at Christ Church, 2421 Tomoka Farms Road, Port Orange, Florida 32128 on Tuesday August 2, 2017 at 3 O’clock PM.
A Celebration of Kathy’s life following the service will be held at the Country Inn and Suites Hotel 5802 Journeys End Way, Port Orange, Florida 32127 from 5 to 8 PM.
For relatives and friends in Baltimore a second celebration of Kathy’s life will be held at the Bowman Restaurant 9306 Harford Road, Parkville, MD 21234 on August 18, 2017 from 5 to 8 PM.
In Lieu of flowers donations in Kathy’s name may be made to Halifax Health Hospice 3800 Woodbriar Trail, Port Orange, Florida 32129 HalifaxHealth.org/Hospice or the American Cancer Society Cancer.org.
On line memories or condolences may be left at http://www.dignitymemorial.com/volusia-memorial-funeral-home-port-orange/en-us/index.page
Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home
1200 29th St, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Baltimore County Police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding a police-involved shooting early this morning at the Giant grocery store in Catonsville.
Just before 4 a.m. police responded to the 6000 block of Baltimore National Pike after an off-duty, uniformed Baltimore County Police Officer, working secondary employment at Giant, shot and killed a fleeing suspect as the officer was being dragged by the suspect vehicle over 100 feet across the parking lot.
The suspect previously entered the Giant store with canvas grocery bags and filled them with merchandise, including household items such as laundry detergent. The officer watched the suspect walk past all working registers with the bags of merchandise, making no attempt to pay for the items before exiting the store. The officer quickly confirmed with an employee that the suspect had not paid for the items he’d taken, then followed the suspect outside of the store where he saw him get into the driver’s seat of a Lincoln vehicle with a North Carolina registration plate waiting on the parking lot.
The officer approached the driver side window and verbally engaged the suspect, who responded by putting the car’s gear into drive. The officer reached into the vehicle, ordering the suspect to stop the vehicle multiple times, but the suspect rapidly accelerated, squealing the vehicle’s tires on the pavement and speeding away, dragging the officer with the vehicle. Witnesses heard the officer telling the driver to stop multiple times. The officer drew his service weapon and fired shots into the vehicle at the suspect, killing the suspect and stopping the vehicle. The deceased suspect’s identity is not being released until notification of next of kin.
An adult male who was in the front seat of the suspect’s Lincoln at the time of the incident was unharmed, but taken to an area hospital for treatment of chest pains following the incident. He has given police an account of the events that is consistent with the accounts of other independent witnesses at the scene and surveillance video obtained from the Giant store. The Giant grocery store video will be made available at a later time.
Police determined that the Lincoln was not currently registered but was displaying a North Carolina tag registered to a Subaru. Police are still investigating to determine how the suspect came into possession of the Lincoln, which is not currently reported stolen.
While the officer was wearing his Baltimore County Police issued uniform, he was not equipped with a body-worn camera. The body-worn camera policy does not require it be worn with the uniform if an officer is working in a secondary employment capacity.
Per the agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4, the officer involved in the shooting will not be identified at this time. The Homicide Unit investigates all police-involved shootings. Once the investigation is complete, the incident will be reviewed by the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office. The Baltimore County Firearms Discharge Review Board also examines every shot fired by police for compliance with agency policy. As standard procedure, the officer will be placed on administrative status during this process.
On August 2, seven Baltimore County police officers will be promoted. The 1 p.m. ceremony will take place at George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, 938 York Road, Towson 21204. Congratulations to all for their hard work!!
Chief Terrence B. Sheridan and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will speak at the ceremony and present the certificates. The oath of office will be administered by Julie Ensor, Clerk of the Court, and Reverend Herbert Watson Jr. will offer the invocation and benediction.
The following is the list of the promoted officers and their new assignments:
- Sergeant Brian A. Edwards is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and is assigned to Precinct 12/Dundalk.
- Corporal Dennis H. Kohajda is promoted to the rank of Sergeant and is assigned to Precinct 11/Essex.
- Corporal Marianne L. Snyder is promoted to the rank of Sergeant and is assigned to Precinct 9/White Marsh.
- Corporal David J. Sweren is promoted to the rank of Sergeant and is assigned to Precinct 12/Dundalk.
- Officer Jeremy W. Fumia is promoted to the rank of Corporal and is assigned to Precinct 12/Dundalk.
- Officer Stuart H. Grantham is promoted to the rank of Corporal and is assigned to Precinct 9/White Marsh.
- Officer Ernest J. Hannig is promoted to the rank of Corporal and is assigned to Precinct 3/Franklin.
The Lodge regrets to announce the death of Ms. Brigitte Felts, Mother- in- Law of Det. Joan Wheeler-Felts, Persons Crimes Section. A private family Memorial Service will be held prior to Internment at the Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to:
The American Lung Association of Maryland
211 East Lombard Street, Suite 260
Baltimore, MD 21202
Please keep the Felts Family in your thoughts during this difficult time.
Relatives and friends are invited to gather at Schimunek Funeral Home, 610 W. MacPhail Road, Bel Air, on Tuesday from 3-5 and 7-9 pm, where a funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 10 am.
Interment Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
Online condolences may be left at www.schimunekfuneralhomes.com
The Lodge Team regrets to announce the passing of Mrs. Geraldine Brocato, mother of Sgt. Curt Brocato (IAS) and grandmother of Officers Christopher and Zachary Brocato (MCT & PC 7) on Friday July 28, 2017. The family will be welcoming guests at Eckhardt’s Funeral Chapel, 3296 Charmil Dr, Manchester, MD 21102 on Wednesday August 2, 2017 from 3 p.m.- 5 p.m. & 7 p.m.- 9 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in Mrs. Brocato’s name to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. https://www.stjude.org/give.html
Please keep the Brocato family in your thoughts and prayers.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4 regretfully announces the passing of Retired Sergeant Paul Merkle. Paul is the former Chaplain of Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #4 and served on the Executive Board of Directors and on numerous committees for more then two decades. In addition, he was Chaplain for the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police and the Secretary for the Baltimore County Retired Officers Association. Paul also served as the Liaison and counsel for the Maryland Concerns of Police Survivors. His contributions to police officers, their families and members of the Fraternal Order of Police can not be overstated. His Knowledge and counsel will be greatly missed.
Paul also volunteered at Stella Maris, giving Communion to hospice patients and long-term residents as well as providing respite care to home hospice families. An active member of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, he was an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion to the sick and homebound parishioners, a Member of the Resurrection Choir and a Lector. Paul also volunteered for the Baltimore County Department of Aging, distributing groceries to residents of Baltimore County.
The family will receive friends at the family owned Ruck Towson Funeral Home, Inc. 1050 York Road (Beltway exit26), on Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9PM. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, at 10AM at St. Isaac Jogues Church. Entombment in Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, the family will appreciate memorial contributions to the Maryland Chapter of COPS c/o Sue Nickerson P.O.Box 125 Worton, MD. 21676 or to St. Isaac Jogues Church 9215 Old Harford Road Baltimore, MD. 21234.