Bodycam video shows Md. LEO fatally shoot knife-wielding man

Officers found the man's deceased mother in the garage shortly after the confrontation


By Lilly Price
The Capital
        
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland Attorney General's Office investigation unit tasked with investigating police shootings released a video Monday that shows the moments leading up to an Anne Arundel County police officer fatally shooting a Glen Burnie man on Nov. 28.

A police corporal shot and killed Digno Ramon Yorro Jr., 32, around 1:30 p.m. Nov. 28 after a family member called police to the home of Valentina Yorro on the 1400 block of Braden Loop. Video from police body cameras showed officers forced entry into the house and encountered Yorro Jr., who was carrying a knife. Officers then shot Yorro Jr. with a beanbag shotgun and a Taser before Cpl. J. Burger shot him with his gun.

Officers then discovered the body of Valentina Yorro, the mother of Yorro Jr., inside a garage.

The Independent Investigation Division in the attorney general's office generally releases body camera or dash camera footage within 14 days of a police shooting. The graphic, 7-minute video released Monday on YouTube starts with a statement describing the details of the 911 call. A woman called police to report that Valentina Yorro was missing, there was "a lot of blood inside the home" and Yorro Jr. was armed with a knife, according to the statement.

The video is shown from the perspective of an officer who does not use any force. There are five officers on the scene. Cpl. Burger, who fired the fatal shots, is the only officer identified. The video starts with officers knocking on the door of the Yorro town house in a Red Oak Crossing complex. Yorro Jr. does not open the door.

Officers force the door open, announce themselves and tell Yorro Jr. to come out. Yorro Jr. is seen standing in the doorway wearing a red shirt and holding a knife. Police tell Yorro Jr. repeatedly to drop the knife before an officer fires four beanbag shotgun rounds, which are lead shots wrapped in soft cloth and designed to deliver a blow to the target rather than penetrate.

The same officer then enters the house and fires a Taser at Yorro Jr., who stands behind a kitchen counter still holding the knife. Yorro Jr. then walks toward the officer while being Tased. Cpl. Burger then shoots Yorro Jr. four times. Police tell Yorro Jr. to drop the knife at least 17 times during the encounter.

Yorro Jr. cries out and struggles on the ground. His body is blurred. The knife is seen next to him. Officers handcuff Yorro Jr. and then get a medical kit. In the video, an officer who is rendering aid says Yorro Jr. is losing oxygen and needs to be repositioned.

The officer whose perspective is seen on video struggles to open the door to a garage. The officer then breaks open the door and discovers Valentina Yorro laying on the ground.

The video released Monday also includes footage from the perspective of Cpl. Burger, who fired the shots. Burger and another officer handcuff Yorro Jr. as he lies on the ground.

Valentina Yorro, a 64-year-old mother of three and grandmother of six, was known as a "Super Grandma" for taking care of her grandchildren, helping at her church and volunteering at a local elementary school to teach students with special needs. Shirley Yorro, one of Yorro's daughters, said her brother, Yorro Jr., had long struggled with his mental health.

In 2020, Valentina Yorro had taken out a protective order against Yorro Jr., in fear that he might hurt her, himself or his daughter. But Yorro later asked a judge to dismiss the final, yearlong protective order because her son had stayed away from her, she said during a court hearing. Yorro also tried unsuccessfully to get custody of her son's young daughter, arguing he was unfit to care for her due to mental health challenges and drug use. The 8-year-old girl had been living with her grandmother for most of her life, Yorro said during a court hearing.

"Intentionally, I know he would never hurt nobody," Yorro told the judge. "But what scares me is when he's not [being intentional] that he could do something, even to himself."

The investigation into the police shooting is ongoing.
    
(c)2021 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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