Early this morning, Annapolis Police and Fire responded to the 1900 Block of Copeland Street in the Bywater community of Annapolis for a domestic dispute. Upon arrival, officers found a woman suffering from multiple stab wounds. While there, the alleged suspect began to advance on the police officers and the woman and was shot and killed by members of the Annapolis Police Department. The victim of the stabbing also died as a result of her injuries.
At a press conference help at Police Headquarters, Police Chief Michael Pristoop and Mayor Joshua Cohen addressed the media. The officer involved was the first officer on scene and is a 14 year veteran of police department and member of SWAT team. The Officer saw William Brown, 31, walking out of a house with a knife as he observed a victim, identified as Ronnesha Simms, 29, in duress. Beown walked toward his Simms and the officer with the knife. The officer fires at least five shots at Brown who was able to stab Simms at least once more before becoming unconscious. The investigation revealed that a dispute began inside the home and when it spilled outside, a neighbor witnessed Brown on top of Simms in the parking lot. The neighbor went to assist and realized Brown had a hunting type knife which he had dropped. The neighbor kicked the knife away and Brown returned to the home to retrieve another kitchen knife which is when police arrived.
The Bywater community is NOT a HACA property and is independently owned housing complex.
Brown has a history of arrests and police are familiar with him. In August 2012 he was charged and convicted of kidnapping and had most of his 10 year sentence suspended. It is unknown how or why the sentence was reduced. Brown and Simms had also been involved in other domestic disputes in the past. Police believe the two have children together. A 2-year old and a9-year old were present in the home at the time of the incident and it is unknown what they may have witnessed. Neighbors have suggested that Brown was a user of PCP and police are not able to say if he was under the influence of any drug at this time.
The unidentified officer will be on administrative leave during the investigation, but Chief Pristoop feels it was a justified shooting. Officers do carry tasers, but this incident unfolded so quickly that use of a taser would not have been a viable option. The Officer was involved in one prior fatal shooting 8years ago when a SWAT team was entering a home. He was one of many officers who fired upon a suspect who ultimately died. The name of the officer will be released shortly.
Mayor Cohen wanted to thank the police department for ending a tragic situation that could have been more tragic than it was. “Annapolis is the capital city of Maryland, but it is still a small town,” said Cohen who will be reaching out to all families today to offer any assistance the City may be able to offer
UPDATED: 908am to correct typos and rearrange words to make sense.