Officer involved in fatal shooting is identified

January 08, 2009|By FROM BALTIMORE SUN STAFF REPORTS

Yesterday, Baltimore County police identified the officer who fatally shot a robbery suspect in Essex last week, and said the suspect attempted to grab the officer's holstered pistol during a struggle.

Police spokesman Bill Toohey said the man was shot by Officer Ruth of the Essex Precinct, who has been with the department since December 2005.

According to its contract with the Fraternal Order of Police, the department can identify officers involved in shootings only by their last names, Toohey said. In addition to the last name, the department can release only an officer's rank, duty station and date of hire, he said. The identification of the officer came a day after Baltimore City police said they will no longer release the names of officers who kill or injure people. City police said giving the names puts officers at risk, but some community leaders said withholding the information could harm relationships with the community.

According to Toohey, Ruth chased Fidel S. Gikori, 25, of Perry Hall after an armed robbery Dec. 31 at the Rite Aid pharmacy on Back River Neck Road in Essex and caught up with him in a backyard of a house on Williams Avenue, about two blocks from the store. A struggle ensued, and the suspect, who had dropped his handgun, tried to take the officer's pistol from a holster, Toohey said. Ruth drew his pistol and shot Gikori twice, he said.

Gikori, of the first block of W. Orange Court, died at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. An undisclosed amount of money taken in the robbery was recovered, Toohey said. Ruth, who had been placed on administrative duty, as is routine in police-involved shootings, has returned to full-duty status, Toohey said.

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