The Maryland Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments Monday in the civil case of Korryn Gaines’ son Kodi, who was shot by Baltimore County Police in 2016. The case could have broader consequences for bystanders injured in police shootings.
Kodi Gaines was 5 years old when county police officers came to the door of his mother’s Randallstown apartment in 2016 to serve arrest warrants for her and her fiancé. After a standoff, Kodi was injured in the shooting that killed his mother and had to undergo multiple surgeries, according to court filings.
The hourslong standoff turned fatal when Cpl. Royce Ruby fired through a wall at Korryn Gaines, an action a Baltimore County jury found was unreasonable in 2018 though she was armed with a shotgun and had pointed it at officers. The jury awarded $38 million in damages, with about $32 million allocated to Kodi.
Since then, the litigation has dragged on for nearly six years, leading to two different opinions in the Appellate Court of Maryland. In August, Maryland’s highest court agreed to take up two legal questions arising from the state appeals court’s most recent opinion in April.
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On that day in 2016, a few hours into the standoff, Korryn Gaines followed Kodi into the kitchen to make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, according to testimony from the jury trial. Ruby testified that he shot through the kitchen wall, aiming to hit Gaines in the head. Instead, he hit her in the back with a shot that then lodged in Kodi’s face, according to an appellate court opinion. As Ruby fired additional shots at Korryn Gaines, another hit Kodi and injured him further.