Less than an hour before her husband died, Nicole Suiter remembers joking with him about a video she took of the Baltimore police detective dancing.
Sean Suiter was in a great mood, Nicole Suiter said. He was hardly a man preparing to take his own life.
In her first public comments since her husband’s death, Nicole Suiter said a recently released report concluding that Sean Suiter committed suicide is “outlandish.”
The detective was shot with his own gun November 15 in a vacant lot in West Baltimore, police said. Officials initially said Sean Suiter was fatally shot in a struggle with a suspect, but an independent report released Tuesday said he killed himself.
Nicole Suiter, a mother of five, said the release of the report gave her the strength to speak out after nine months of silence.
“[I] will not go on allowing anybody to shame my husband’s name and ruin his legacy with these false allegations of suicide,” she told CNN affiliate WMAR.
The detective was in “good spirits” on the day of his death, Nicole Suiter said.
“Based on the fact that no one knew my husband better than I, I will not accept the untimely death of Sean as nothing other than a murder, which is being covered up for reasons unknown to me or my family,” she said.
She plans to stand with protestors in Baltimore and seek justice for her husband.
“I can’t heal until I get the truth,” she said.
Report says he died by suicide
The fatal shooting occurred the day before Suiter, a homicide detective, was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in a police corruption case involving fellow officers. Then-Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said at the time that a brief call Suiter made on his police radio occurred during a struggle with a killer.
Authorities initially determined that Suiter’s death was a homicide and launched a manhunt for the suspected gunman. After no arrests were made, police commissioned an independent review of the homicide investigation earlier this year.
On Tuesday, the Independent Review Board released a report saying they believed Suiter took his own life.
He was right-handed and the bullet entered from the right side of his head, the report said.
The panel also pointed out the lack of defensive wounds on Suiter’s knuckles, hands or arms, along with the presence of shell casings from Suiter’s Glock service weapon at the scene and the officer’s DNA inside the barrel of the gun.
Attorneys representing Nicole Suiter said the report did not take into consideration all the evidence that was available after the murder investigation, including their client’s testimony.
“What bothers me about this entire report is that they are attacking a man who served our country in Iraq, fought a war for us, and then came home and became a police officer after he served,” attorney Duane Stone said.
Case remains open
Gary Tuggle, Baltimore’s interim police commissioner said the police department gave the independent panel “unfettered access” in the case.
The medical examiner has ruled the detective’s death a homicide.
Both the police department and the medical examiner’s office are reviewing the report’s findings and will decide whether it warrants any changes, officials said. A spokesman for the medical examiner’s office said Wednesday that it does not discuss cases under investigation.
The case is expected to remain open until a decision is made, Tuggle said.