Towson, MD – Baltimore County police released bodycam video that showed 48-year-old Eric Sopp rushing at police officers when he was fatally shot (video below).
The incident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2019 after Catherine Sopp called police and said her drunk suicidal adult son had taken the car keys and driven off, WBAL reported.
“I just want to report that my son just left the house, and he’s out there driving drunk,” Catherine Sopp told the 911 dispatcher. “I had his car keys and he started getting violent, and I’m afraid, and he’s threatened to commit suicide.”
She told the police that her son, Eric Sopp, was likely driving on Interstate 83, WBAL reported.
Baltimore County police officers spotted the suspect vehicle and stopped it.
They did not know if Eric was armed, WBAL reported.
Bodycam video on the lead police vehicle showed Eric pulled over to the side of the highway quickly when the officer turned on his lights behind him.
The video showed the officer approached the suspect vehicle from the passenger-side rear, with his weapon in his right hand.
He knocked on the car window to get Eric’s attention.
The video showed he told the driver to show him his hands.
And then he told him to put the vehicle in park.
But the driver failed to comply with any of the officer’s commands, the bodycam video showed.
Then officer ordered the driver to put his hands on the dash several times.
“Turn your car off. Please turn your car off,” the officer said in the video.
“I will not turn my car off,” Eric replied.
“Please turn your car off, sir,” the officer asked again.
“I will not turn my car off,” the driver replied again.
Then Eric went to get out of the car and the officer yelled at him to stay in the car.
But the driver didn’t listen and instead got out of the car, and then lunged towards the police officer giving him commands, the video showed.
That’s when the officer opened fire on Eric and shot him eight times.
Afterward, police discovered that the dead man did not have a weapon on him when he was shot, WBAL reported.
But bodycam video showed how quickly Eric Sopp rushed at the officer, not leaving a split-second to see whether he was armed.
Police haven’t said whether there was a weapon found inside Eric’s vehicle, WJZ reported.
The officer who fatally shot Eric has been identified as Baltimore County Police Officer Page, a 21-year veteran of the police force who works as a patrolman out of the Cockeysville Precinct, WJZ reported.
Eric’s mother has hired an attorney who called her son’s death the result of “unnecessary use of force by an officer.”
“I never imagined that when I called 911 to protect my son and others from him driving drunk, it would cost him his life,” Catherine Sopp said in a statement through her attorneys. There was no reason for the officer to shoot and kill him.”
The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against Officer Page and he has been returned to active duty, WBAL reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: