Police shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old woman, after a lengthy, armed standoff in Randallstown, Maryland, on Monday, which law enforcement officials now say was exacerbated by comments, left on Gaines’ Instagram account, encouraging her to resist arrest. Gaines’ 5-year-old son was wounded in the crossfire, though his injuries are considered non-life threatening.
According to court documents released on Wednesday, police obtained an arrest warrant for Gaines, charging her with first- and second-degree assault, obstructing and hindering, and resisting or interfering with arrest, after she pointed a shotgun at an officer who had gone to her home to serve warrants to her and her boyfriend on Monday morning. From the Baltimore Sun:
No one answered when the officers knocked and announced they were police, but they could hear someone cough inside, the documents state. An officer continued to knock for about 10 minutes.
“During that time further movement could be heard inside the location and a small child was heard crying,” states the warrant, which was issued Monday. Two officers went to the rental office to ask for a key.
But after using the key, officers still could not open the door because of an interior chain lock, the warrant states. Officers could see a woman sitting on the floor and asked her to come to the door, but she refused.
One officer “kicked the door forcing the door open,” the warrant states, and another entered. Inside, Gaines, bearing her shotgun, told the officers to leave. The officers complied and called for backup before obtaining the arrest warrant and returning to her home.
At least once, police said, Gaines aimed her shotgun at officers while her son was in her arms. At another point, she allegedly threatened to kill them if they did not leave. According to the New York Times, police said that an officer fired at Gaines, she fired back, and police fired three more times, killing her.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, temporarily deactivated Gaines’ account at the police department’s request during the ensuing standoff. “It’s key for these trained negotiators to be able to interact with the subject without distraction, without interference from the outside,” a Baltimore County Police Department spokeswoman, Elise Armacost, said at a news conference. “The entire time, throughout the afternoon, she would repeatedly point the weapon at our personnel, and they maintained firearms discipline throughout,” Baltimore police chief James Johnson said.
Gaines’ family disputes any attempt to portray her as having taken her child hostage. “She would never do that. Before she would hurt her baby, she would jump in front of a bullet for him. She would not hurt her kids, and for them to keep portraying her as that kind of person is awful,” Shannon Gaines, Korryn’s aunt, told WBAL-TV.
The video Gaines posted is the only footage currently available from inside the apartment. In one video, Korryn asks her son: “What’s happening outside right now? Who’s outside?” He replies: “The police.”
“And what are they trying to do?” she asks. “They trying to kill us,” he says.
Shannon Gaines speculated that police requested that her account be deactivated to isolate her. “Because she was broadcasting it to people who cared about her,” Korryn’s aunt said. “They had to make her feel alienated, and they had to assassinate her right there with her baby sitting right there, and try to paint it like she’s the one that was wrong. She’s the one that was crazy. It is not right.”
The family also said that Korryn suffered a miscarriage after a contentious arrest in March. “So why would she trust them now?” Shannon Gaines asked. “Why would she trust once they come into her house that they are not going to hurt her again?”