Scene from the Owing Mills, Md., neighborhood where Baltimore County police shot and killed an unarmed black man June 25, 2015

The Baltimore County Police Department’s homicide unit has launched an investigation into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in the Baltimore suburb of Owing Mills, according to Reuters.

As The Root reported, three police officers, responding to a domestic disturbance Thursday, fired at least 19 rounds and killed 41-year-old Spencer Lee McCain. Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said the three officers fired their guns because they believed McCain had a weapon. All three officers—two white, one black—were placed on administrative leave.


The internal probe seeks to determine whether the officers complied with the Police Department’s policies. Officials will send their findings to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for review, Reuters reports.

A police spokesman would provide only the officers’ last names to Reuters because of police-union rules. However, the news agency used that information and compared it with the department’s salary records to identify the three officers as Shenell Wilkes, Jonathan Besaw and Shannon Stargel.

According to Reuters, Wilkes is a six-year veteran, Besaw is an eight-year veteran and Stargel is a five-year veteran.


Two children and a woman, who had cuts and bruises when police arrived, were at the residence when the shooting occurred. A protective order was in place to prevent McCain from having contact with the woman and children. Since January 2012, the police had responded to domestic disturbance calls about 17 times to the residence, according to Reuters.

Read more at Reuters.