BALTIMORE — A convicted felon who fled a traffic stop was fatally shot after firing a handgun at a Baltimore police officer during a foot chase, authorities said Monday.
Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said Billy Lewis Rucker, 33, fired a single shot at the officer Sunday night before the officer fired back several times, killing Rucker.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, Smith released police body camera footage that appeared to show Rucker carrying a handgun, and a muzzle flash from the gun he was carrying before the officer fired. The footage also appears to show a magazine from the gun Rucker was carrying becoming dislodged and falling to the ground as he jumped a fence.
“Was it an accident? Likely,” Smith said, noting that Rucker, who ignored several commands from the pursuing officer to get on the ground, had one round in the chamber of a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun but may have thought he had more.
“There are multiple opportunities in this scenario for him to surrender,” Smith said. ” … We’re just fortunate that no innocent people were injured.”
The officer, a 6-year veteran of the force, has been placed on leave.
The incident began about 8:15 p.m. Sunday when police tried to stop a sport utility vehicle for a traffic violation. Police footage shows Rucker, the driver, speaking briefly with an officer before speeding off.
A police helicopter tracked the vehicle for several miles (kilometers) before it came to a stop.
Authorities said that in addition to the handgun fired at the officer, Rucker was also carrying a bag containing a fake handgun.
Smith said Rucker had three felony drug convictions and two handgun convictions and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.