“I’m real upset about it,” said Cynthia McCloud, 48, the aunt and next-of-kin of George Walters, 26, whom police fatally shot at about 5:10 p.m. Wednesday in the 8000 block of Gough Street.
“They knew it was a BB gun; they knew it wasn’t real,” McCloud said. “Why did they have to shoot him? He was suicidal. He was flipping out. Can’t they think of other ways to get people to calm down?”
The incident began around 4 p.m. when police received a call from Walters’ girlfriend, Shelly Koerick, 29, reporting that he had become enraged, was smashing furniture with a baseball bat, and throwing items out of the rented house where they lived with their 7-year-old son, police said.
When the first officer arrived, Walters was in an upstairs bedroom. He threatened to kill anyone who came near him, police spokesman Bill Toohey said Thursday.
Officers called in a SWAT team and surrounded the house. The police could see Walters in the bedroom holding the fake rifle, pointing it out the window, and shouting threats, Toohey said.
Believing the rifle was real, two officers on the ground outside the house shot and killed Walters, Toohey said.
Police said witnesses told them they heard gunshots and saw “what might have been smoke” coming from the house. Toohey said investigators believe Walters “may have been using firecrackers to simulate gunshots.” The two officers — whose names police have not released — were placed on routine administrative.
McCloud, however, insists Koerick informed officers that the gun was fake.
Koerick could not be reached for comment.
McCloud said her nephew suffered from mental health issues and drug addiction. Walters was awaiting trial on a second-degree assault charge.
“I think the drugs make people do things they shouldn't be doing,” McCloud said in a phone interview. “It’s just such a sad story. He was a person who needed help. There are a lot of people like him out there with mental health issues.”
Walters attended Loch Raven High School and worked in home improvement.
A memorial service for Walters is scheduled for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cremation and Funeral Alternatives at 8717 Green Pastures Drive in Towson.