A Baltimore police officer has been charged with the murder of his 15-year-old stepson, authorities announced Wednesday.
Eric Banks was been charged with first- and second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death for the death of Dasan Jones, whose body was found in a hole in a bedroom wall on July 6, The Associated Press reported.
Dasan’s body was discovered after Anne Arundel County Police were called to Banks’ house to deal with a dispute involving the teen’s mother, according to CBS Baltimore.
Although Banks told responding officers Dasan had left home without any belongings, the victim’s body was found after the suspect consented to a house search.
When police detained Banks, there was a scuffle after he asked to say goodbye to his other children while reaching for an officer’s gun and saying the officer was “gonna have to end this,” according to The Baltimore Sun.
Prosecutors also said Banks made “homicidal and suicidal” comments after he was arrested. He has been in custody ever since.
Banks’ attorney, Warren Brown, told the paper that his client said he found Dasan’s body in a bathtub and believed the teenager had died by suicide.
“I understand circumstantially it looks bad ... But, I’m looking to understand how he was asphyxiated,” Brown said.
Banks was suspended without pay after he was charged with a felony. His police powers were already suspended based on a previous incident, but investigators did not say what that was, according to AP.
In recent weeks, Banks’ wife — Dasan’s mother — had applied for two protective orders against her husband, saying he was stalking her. Although the first was denied by a judge, the second was obtained just hours before the teen was found dead.
Anne Arundel Police Chief Amal Awad said Dasan “was a young man with a bright future” who had just completed his freshman year in the biomedical Allied Health Program at Glenburnie High School.
“He took great pride and excelled in his academics, he was a magnet student and was an accomplished violinist,” Awad said, according to CBS Baltimore.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison called Banks’ alleged actions “not only deplorable, but shocking to the conscience.”
He added: “This is a classic example of why I have advocated for the autonomy and authority to terminate officers when they are facing heinous criminal allegations.”