Grocery store security guard fatally shot one customer and injured another following an altercation
Baltimore, Md. (February 3, 2023) - Today, the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office (SAO) announced that it would not bring charges against Titus Ninneh for the fatal shooting of Nicholas Lee and the non-fatal shooting of another individual in July of 2021 at a Giant grocery store located on the 6600 block of Reisterstown Road.
On July 13, 2021, at 4:40 p.m., Baltimore City Police responded to the Giant grocery store located at 6640 Reisterstown Road for a report of a shooting inside the store. Upon arriving, officers located Nicholas Lee suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. He was located inside the store in the meat section. Also located on the scene was a woman suffering from a single gunshot wound to her left hand. Additional units and medics were requested.
The investigation revealed that Lee, who was not wearing a shirt at the time, and his female companion entered the Giant grocery store pushing a baby stroller. Security Officer Titus Ninneh was standing in the front of the store when they entered. Ninneh asked Lee to put on a shirt, but Lee did not comply and continued to walk toward the meat section. Ninneh followed both parties to the meat section, where he again asked Lee to put on a shirt or leave the store.
The female companion stepped in between Lee and Ninneh and escalated the conversation. She then struck Ninneh in the face with a package of meat that she was holding. Lee immediately began punching Ninneh, forcing him into a display case. The physical altercation continued, and Ninneh was punched by both Lee and the woman before being placed in a chokehold by Lee and wrestled to the ground. At that time, the female was on top of Ninneh while Lee attempted to take the security guard's firearm. Ninneh discharged his weapon during this part of the physical altercation. As Ninneh stood up, he fired his weapon once more, striking Lee. During the altercation, Lee's female companion was shot in her hand.
Lee was transported to Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 5:08 p.m. The woman was transported to Union Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for her injury. The Mobile Crime Lab processed the scene, where they located three 9mm cartridge casings, one cartridge, and various clothing. Swabs were also taken of suspected blood.
"While a security guard is not held to the same legal standards as a sworn police officer, it is clear that Mr. Ninneh's actions would not be found criminal in nature in a court of law," said State's Attorney Ivan J. Bates. "From our review of the previous administration's investigation, we found that my predecessor and her executive team consulted a use of force expert in 2021, received the results from the expert in 2022, held multiple internal briefings, and were advised by their own ASAs to decline charges in the matter. Although they decided not to prosecute, it seems they did not fulfill their duty to notify the family despite repeated requests. This delay, unfortunately, causes more unnecessary trauma to the victim's family. It is truly a tragedy that such a petty dispute resulted in this loss of life and that so much violence was experienced in broad daylight at a bustling business in our community."