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Baltimore County Police officers fatally shot an unarmed man while responding to a call of a domestic disturbance early Thursday morning, authorities said.
Three officers opened fire on Spencer Lee McCain, 41, after being called to a home in Owings Mills just after 1 a.m., and forcing their way inside because the officers feared a person may be in danger, Baltimore County police said in a statement. Police said officers could hear a disturbance inside, but no one answered the door.
Police said the officers shot McCain after he allegedly made movements that the officers interpreted as indicating he was armed and ready to act, but no weapon was found, police said. McCain was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
"The police officers encountered a subject in a defensive position, making body movements and arm movements that placed the officers in fear of serious injury or death," Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson told reporters.
Police said all three officers fired and the investigation has not determined how many shots were fired, but investigators recovered 19 shell casings at the scene.
Police said a woman inside the home had "visible injuries" but refused treatment; two children were also inside the home. The woman was not identified, but police said McCain was prohibited by a court protective order from having any contact with her, and police said they were called to the home around 17 times since 2012.
Johnson said the woman told investigators that McCain told her, "You're going to get the beating you deserve," NBC station WBAL reported.
A neighbor told the station he heard what sounded like a woman "begging, you know, like, 'Don't do that. Don't do this. Please stop."
Owing Mills is about 20 miles northwest of Baltimore, which was roiled by protests and riots after a black man, Freddie Gray, died after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody. McCain's race was not released.
Police said the homicide unit will complete an investigation and forward the results to the state's attorney's office for review.