Two months after he was shot by a Baltimore police during a training exercise, University of Maryland Police Officer Raymond Gray can’t hold his wife, play with two boys or work.
After he was shot, he spent three weeks at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma before he was transferred to Sinai Hospital, for rehabilitation. Any day now, he’ll be taken to a private facility, where, hopefully, he will improve.
The officer who shot him, Baltimore Police Officer William S. Kern, 46, last month was indicted on one count of second degree assault and one count of reckless endangerment, authorities said. He’s out on his own recognizance, but the department placed him on administrative leave, with pay, pending the outcome of the case. He faces a maximum of up to 15 if convicted of both charges, authorities said.
“The state attorney’s office took a safer route in terms of trying to get a conviction in relation to reckless endangerment,” said Baltimore attorney Attorney Dwight Petit, who is preparing a civil suit on behalf of Gray. “We would have preferred to see more serious charges in terms of first degree assault but we understand that there may have been concern as to whether the elements of first degree assault, maliciousness could have been established in criminal court beyond reasonable doubt.”
Pettit said his client has no recollection of the shooting. He was shot in the head; he suffered brain damage and lost an eye, as a result, Petit said.
“He’s facing long-term rehabilitation,” Petit said.
Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez, head of internal investigations for the Baltimore Police Department, said “the accident” will probably not be the last training related incident that happens nationwide. However, he said the department is taking an aggressive stance to ensure it does not happen again.
Police department training was shut down the week after the accident. Going forward, a safety officer with a easily distinguishable jacket will be present at all training session to ensure best practices and uphold safety standards, Rodriguez said.
The incident occurred on Feb.12 in the Baltimore Police Department’s Rosewood Training Center in Owing Mills,. Gray was standing at a window on the outside of a building and Kern fired a shot, which hit Gray in the head. Kern has said he did not realize he was using live rounds. Officials apparently did not know that the exercise was going on, Petit said.
Kern, an 18-year veteran of the force who pleaded not guilty to the charges, turned himself in following the incident. It is unclear that why the officer had the real gun and why he was at the Rosewood Center since Baltimore police were not authorized to use the facility for training, Petit said.
Gray has made progress in his ability to walk and communicate.
“He’s very fortunate by the grace of God to be alive, but he has made an amazing recovery,” said Pettit.
Afro Staff Writer Krishana Davis contributed to this report.