Baltimore officer was killed with his own gun, police say

A Baltimore homicide detective was fatally shot in the head with his own gun after a struggle with his killer last week, the city’s police commissioner said Wednesday.

Sean Suiter, an 18-year department veteran, was investigating a killing in west Baltimore on November 15 when he saw a man exhibiting suspicious behaviors, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. Suiter died the next day at a hospital.

No arrest has been made in the killing.

Suiter was to testify before a grand jury the day after he was killed, Davis said. The grand jury is looking at a case involving several Baltimore officers who were federally indicted in March.

In an apparent attempt to address speculation about a connection between Suiter’s killing and his pending testimony, Davis said the Suiter and his partner were not lured to the scene of the shooting and made a “spontaneous decision” to investigate the suspicious man.

“It certainly makes for great theater,” Davis said. “We have a police officer who’s shot and killed and we don’t have a really good description, and we don’t have someone in custody — and lo and behold … I found out after the fact that he was scheduled to testify in front of a federal grand jury.”

Davis added: “I understand the speculation that exists. … It’s our responsibility really to follow the evidence and there’s no evidence whatsoever.”

In March, seven Baltimore officers, members of the department’s Gun Trace Task Force, were accused in a federal racketeering indictment of robbing people, claiming fraudulent overtime and filing false affidavits.

Davis said federal officials told him “in no uncertain terms” that the 43-year-old father of five was not the target of any ongoing criminal investigation.

“There is no information that has been communicated to me that Detective Suiter was anything other than a stellar detective, great friend, loving husband and dedicated father,” Davis said.

The officers first saw the killer acting suspiciously about 20 minutes before Suiter’s fatal encounter, police said.

Davis said Suiter struggled with his killer, making a brief call on his police radio at the time of the killing, Davis said. Suiter’s clothing indicated he and the killer had struggled, Davis said.

The officer was found with the radio still in his hand, the commissioner said.

“It’s unintelligible right now,” Davis said of the radio call. “We don’t know exactly what he said but he was clearly in distress,” Davis said, adding that the FBI is working with the department to enhance the radio transmission.

There was also the apparent sound of gunfire in the background of the radio call, Davis said. Suiter’s partner, also a detective, took cover across the street and called 911 when the gunfire erupted, Davis said.

Suiter was shot in the head at close range, the police commissioner said. The officer’s DNA was found on the fatal round recovered from the scene, Davis said.

The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Suiter’s killer has grown to $215,000.

Earlier in the week, Davis said he believed the killer was still in the city and he may be wounded.

Suiter’s funeral is scheduled for November 29, Davis said.

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Baltimore officer was killed with his own gun, police say

A Baltimore homicide detective was fatally shot in the head with his own gun after a struggle with his killer last week, the city’s police commissioner said Wednesday.

Sean Suiter, an 18-year department veteran, was investigating a killing in west Baltimore on November 15 when he saw a man exhibiting suspicious behaviors, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. Suiter died the next day at a hospital.

No arrest has been made in the killing.

Suiter was to testify before a grand jury the day after he was killed, Davis said. The grand jury is looking at a case involving several Baltimore officers who were federally indicted in March.

In an apparent attempt to address speculation about a connection between Suiter’s killing and his pending testimony, Davis said the Suiter and his partner were not lured to the scene of the shooting and made a “spontaneous decision” to investigate the suspicious man.

“It certainly makes for great theater,” Davis said. “We have a police officer who’s shot and killed and we don’t have a really good description, and we don’t have someone in custody — and lo and behold … I found out after the fact that he was scheduled to testify in front of a federal grand jury.”

Davis added: “I understand the speculation that exists. … It’s our responsibility really to follow the evidence and there’s no evidence whatsoever.”

In March, seven Baltimore officers, members of the department’s Gun Trace Task Force, were accused in a federal racketeering indictment of robbing people, claiming fraudulent overtime and filing false affidavits.

Davis said federal officials told him “in no uncertain terms” that the 43-year-old father of five was not the target of any ongoing criminal investigation.

“There is no information that has been communicated to me that Detective Suiter was anything other than a stellar detective, great friend, loving husband and dedicated father,” Davis said.

The officers first saw the killer acting suspiciously about 20 minutes before Suiter’s fatal encounter, police said.

Davis said Suiter struggled with his killer, making a brief call on his police radio at the time of the killing, Davis said. Suiter’s clothing indicated he and the killer had struggled, Davis said.

The officer was found with the radio still in his hand, the commissioner said.

“It’s unintelligible right now,” Davis said of the radio call. “We don’t know exactly what he said but he was clearly in distress,” Davis said, adding that the FBI is working with the department to enhance the radio transmission.

There was also the apparent sound of gunfire in the background of the radio call, Davis said. Suiter’s partner, also a detective, took cover across the street and called 911 when the gunfire erupted, Davis said.

Suiter was shot in the head at close range, the police commissioner said. The officer’s DNA was found on the fatal round recovered from the scene, Davis said.

The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Suiter’s killer has grown to $215,000.

Earlier in the week, Davis said he believed the killer was still in the city and he may be wounded.

Suiter’s funeral is scheduled for November 29, Davis said.

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American formerly imprisoned in North Korea burns to death

Police in San Diego are investigating the mysterious death of a man who made international headlines eight years ago when former US President Jimmy Carter helped negotiate his release from North Korea.

Aijalon Mahli Gomes, 38, was found engulfed in flames Friday night in Mission Bay Park. An off-duty California Highway Patrol officer spotted him in a dirt lot and stopped to help, police said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. A preliminary investigation suggests his death was accidental or a suicide, police said. A final determination will be made when the Medical Examiner’s Office completes its investigation.

Gomes had recently moved from his hometown of Boston to the San Diego area. His death raised questions about his life since his return from North Korea.

He was arrested in North Korea after entering from China. North Korea sentenced him to eight years of hard labor in 2010 and a fine of about $600,000 for illegally crossing its border with China and for an unspecified “hostile act.”

He was freed in August 2010 after Carter helped negotiate his release. Coverage at the time focused largely on Carter and whether he had met reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on the trip, leaving gaps in Gomes’ story. Carter, who has a history of helping thaw frigid Pyongyang-Washington relations, did not make any comments at the time about his trip.

At the time of his arrest, Gomes had been living in South Korea for about nine years, his uncle said in 2010. Michael Farrow said he didn’t know the circumstances of his nephew’s entry into North Korea. But he said it was “not in his character.”

“He did not take things to the extreme. He may have just been trying to peek in and help others and teach them. He had good motives. I know he had good intentions.”

Gomes documented his ordeal in “Violence and Humanity,” a self-published e-book from 2015. According to the book’s author biography, Gomes was educated in Massachusetts public schools before attending Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he earned a degree in English. He pursued a career in education in the suburbs of Massachusetts before moving to South Korea to teach in the rural provinces of Seoul.

Gomes taught English to middle school students for two years before crossing into China, “inspired by his faith and sense of universal equality,” according to the book’s description.

“For nine months he remained detained in a remote prison under strict supervision while friends and family in the United States were kept in the dark about his health and location as tensions peaked in the region, leading him to true tests of hope, faith and humanity,” the book description said.

Gomes appeared to have stayed out of the public eye since his return. During that time, he worked on recovering “from injuries sustained while being incarcerated in North Korea. A portion of his recovery has included therapeutic writing of which his first novel, ‘Violence and Humanity,’ is based [on],” the author bio said.

“Although this autobiography is highly personal and graphic … I pray some good will come from sharing it.”

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Democratic rep. says Conyers should resign

New York Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice is calling on embattled Rep. John Conyers to resign from Congress after the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into allegations that the Michigan Democrat had sexually harassed members of his staff.

The allegations against Conyers, Rice said in a statement, are “as credible as they are repulsive. The women who reported this behavior suffered serious professional repercussions for doing so, which is exactly why so many victims of sexual harassment and assault decide not to step forward. If men who engage in this behavior suffered real repercussions, more victims would speak up — and maybe other men would decide to act like decent, civilized adults and not prey on women who work for and trust and admire them.”

She is the first Democratic representative to call on Conyers to leave Congress.

Conyers, who has served in the House since 1965, confirmed Monday that he had settled a wrongful termination complaint in 2015 made by a staff member who had accused him of sexual harassment, a settlement first reported by BuzzFeed News on Monday.

But Conyers said he was “expressly and vehemently” denying any wrongdoing.

In her statement, Rice said, “Whether it happened 40 years ago or last week, settlement or no settlement, Democrat or Republican — harassment is harassment, assault is assault.

“We all know credible allegations when we hear them, and the same is true of hypocrisy.”

Rice’s statement goes far further than House Democratic leaders, who have stopped short of calling on Conyers to resign.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Tuesday that “any credible allegation of sexual harassment must be investigated by the Ethics Committee.” Similarly, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, called the report “very disturbing” and said that an ethics investigation is an “appropriate next step.”

Both Pelosi and Hoyer have also called for sweeping changes to the way allegations of sexual harassment are handled on the Hill, and they support legislation sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, targeting the issue.

In an interview with The New York Times, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, another member of House Democratic leadership, said he wasn’t sure the claims against Conyers were substantive.

“You can’t jump to conclusions with these types of things,” he told The New York Times. “For all I know, all of this could be made up.”

Multiple requests for comment from CNN were not returned by Clyburn’s office.

Most Democrats have stopped short of calling for Conyers’ resignation, though several have called on him to abandon his position as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Wednesday that Conyers should step down from the Judiciary position.

“No one is exempt from bad behavior, and I think that he’s agreed and I clearly see where Leader Pelosi has said there will be an immediate Ethics Committee, a review,” Meeks told CNN’s John Berman and Poppy Harlow. “I really think that probably the appropriate thing right now is that he should step down as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and be subject to this ethics investigation.”

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona also called on Conyers to step down from the Judiciary post, in an interview with C-SPAN.

“As agonizing as it might be for all of us, the ranking member needs to step down at the minimum. Our leader Pelosi asked for that ethics investigation and then the chips will fall from there.”

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Roy Moore’s communications director resigns

The communications director for controversial Senate candidate Roy Moore has resigned from his position on the campaign, senior campaign adviser Brett Doster tells CNN.

Doster said Wednesday that John Rogers didn’t have the experience to deal with the level of scrutiny brought on by the national press, and the campaign had to make a change.

He added that Rogers had not been dismissed but that he “didn’t like playing second fiddle on the communications side.”

Moore’s campaign has been embattled by scandal as numerous women have come forward and accused the candidate of inappropriate sexual behavior several years ago. Several women have accused Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, and a few others have accused him of sexual assault.

The Republican Party appeared somewhat divided over the issue, with President Donald Trump weighing in on Tuesday.

Trump avoided denouncing Moore’s behavior and would only note that the Alabama Republican had denied the allegations.

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen.”

Officials at the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Wednesday that they are not reversing course on Roy Moore or restoring funding to his campaign.

The committees were reluctant to go on the record or to elaborate, but they said nothing has changed since their decision, two officials told CNN.

Additionally, more than a dozen Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have called on Moore to drop out of the race.

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Roy Moore’s communications director resigns

The communications director for controversial Senate candidate Roy Moore has resigned from his position on the campaign, senior campaign adviser Brett Doster tells CNN.

Doster said Wednesday that John Rogers didn’t have the experience to deal with the level of scrutiny brought on by the national press, and the campaign had to make a change.

He added that Rogers had not been dismissed but that he “didn’t like playing second fiddle on the communications side.”

Moore’s campaign has been embattled by scandal as numerous women have come forward and accused the candidate of inappropriate sexual behavior several years ago. Several women have accused Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, and a few others have accused him of sexual assault.

The Republican Party appeared somewhat divided over the issue, with President Donald Trump weighing in on Tuesday.

Trump avoided denouncing Moore’s behavior and would only note that the Alabama Republican had denied the allegations.

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen.”

Officials at the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Wednesday that they are not reversing course on Roy Moore or restoring funding to his campaign.

The committees were reluctant to go on the record or to elaborate, but they said nothing has changed since their decision, two officials told CNN.

Additionally, more than a dozen Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have called on Moore to drop out of the race.

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