clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Who is Korryn Gaines? 11 things we know for sure

Gaines, 23, is the ninth black woman killed by police in 2016.

Instagram

1. On August 1, police came to the apartment of Korryn Shandawn Gaines, 23, in Randallstown, Maryland.

According to a press release from the Baltimore County Police Department, officers came by Gaines' apartment at about 9:20 a.m. to serve a warrant to her and her boyfriend. The man was wanted for assault; she was wanted on a "failure to appear" bench warrant stemming from a traffic stop in March. Officers say Gaines refused to open the door, but they could hear voices and a child crying.

Here's where things get fuzzy: The officers say they got a key from the landlord to open the apartment, but couldn't fully get inside because of the chain lock. However, they saw Gaines sitting on the floor holding her son and pointing a "long gun" at them. They left to obtain a warrant, which was issued at 12:43 p.m. on Monday, for charges of first- and second-degree assault, obstructing and hindering, and resisting or interfering with arrest.

2. The police admitted in their warrant that they kicked Gaines' door down.

According to the warrant, after they used the key and Gaines refused to come to the door, one officer then "kicked the door forcing the door open" and another entered the apartment and saw Gaines holding a shotgun. She pointed the shotgun at an officer and told them to leave. Allegedly they left and went to call for backup; an hourslong barricade situation began.

3. The police fired first.

According to the department's press release: "At about 3 p.m., the woman once again pointed her weapon directly at a tactical officer and said, 'If you don't leave, I'm going to kill you.' At that point, fearing for the officers' lives, one of the officers fired his weapon. The woman returned fire, firing two shots." The police then fired the fatal shots.

4. Her boyfriend attempted to run away, leaving Gaines and her son in the apartment.

Kareem Courtney tried to flee with a 1-year-old boy and was arrested.

5. Gaines had a 5-year-old son, who was shot in the arm during the shootout.

The boy, who is in the hospital recovering from his wounds, is allegedly telling the story of what happened to a relative via a series of Instagram videos. (REVOLT does not deem it appropriate to post the videos or state the child's name.) The family member, who says Gaines is her sister, has a private account; however other users, such as Worldstar, are circulating the videos. In them, the boy says he was hiding in the closet at one point but later came out. He describes hearing his mother tell the police to "back up," then says the police responded, "We is back up" before they started to shoot. The child says the police saw him run but still shot him.

The Movement for Black Lives outlines its demands in a formal platform

6. Gaines was posting to social media during the standoff.

In the last Instagram video on Gaines' account, she asks her son, "Who's out there?" He answers, "The police."

"What are they tryna do?" she asks. "Kill us," he says.

You can hear the police asking about her phone, to which she responds, "It's charging."

This video was obtained by the Washington Post from Gaines' Facebook page, which police had disabled so she could not live-stream the standoff. “We did in fact reach out to social media authorities to deactivate her account, to take it offline, if you will,” Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said Tuesday. “Why? In order to preserve the integrity of the negotiation process with her and for the safety of our personnel [and] her child. Ms Gaines was posting video of the operation as it unfolded. Followers were encouraging her not to comply with negotiators’ request that she surrender peacefully.”

7. This was not Gaines' first encounter with the police, and she carefully documented several other interactions.

From her arrest at the traffic stop in March to a follow-up visit to the police station to inquire about missing belongings, Gaines appears informed of her rights and recorded every interaction.

8. Gaines was a licensed gun owner.

9. The press release said the names of the officers involved in the shooting would be released 48 hours after the incident. Their names still have not been released to the public, and they have been placed on administrative leave.

In a statement Thursday, the police chief said he decided that the Baltimore County Police Department will not release the name of the officer who fatally shot Gaines "because of serious safety concerns." BCoPD has received an "unprecedented number of threats against police," he said.

10. BCoPD has confirmed that there is no body camera footage from inside the apartment or the apartment building. Also, there are no audiotapes of the negotiations with Gaines. In Maryland, recording is only allowed in hostage situations, and the police did not determine that Gaines' son was a hostage.

11. Gaines, 23, is the ninth black woman to be killed by police in 2016, according to a Washington Post database that tracks fatal shootings.

Sign up for the newsletter Join the revolution.

Get REVOLT updates weekly so you don’t miss a thing.