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Baltimore Cop Suspended, Charged With Assaulting Another Officer After His Stepson Died Following Custody Dispute In Curtis Bay

CURTIS BAY, Md. (WJZ) -- Anne Arundel County police arrested Baltimore City police officer Eric Banks Jr. after they said the 34-year-old officer became "combative" and tried to grab one of their officer's weapons. He faces assault and resisting arrest charges among others.

"I can't say what was going on in his mind," said Sgt. Kam Cooke of Anne Arundel County police.

The incident followed a call to police Tuesday about a custody dispute. That call ultimately led to the discovery of Banks' 15-year-old stepson unresponsive inside his townhome in the 1400 block of Stoney Point Way in Curtis Bay. Police have not identified the teenager by name.

Police and paramedics worked to save the teen's life but were unable to revive him.

"I just feel really sad for the family so I hope people pray for them," neighbor Tiffany Borden told WJZ.

Anne Arundel County police gave WJZ this updated timeline: They arrived on the scene for the custody dispute at 4:42 pm Tuesday at the mother's request. She was there to pick up her son. The child was found unresponsive upstairs in the townhome at 5:40 pm. Banks fought with the officer at 6:12 pm.

Anne Arundel County Police confirmed there had been prior calls for service to the home but did not detail them.

They are calling the teen's death "suspicious" but would not say how he died or if there was any foul play.

"There appeared to be some things going on with the couple and there needed to be some space between them," Sgt. Cooke said.

Neighbor Stephanie Castagnera told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren that she never heard any arguments at the home where she said the teen lived with his two siblings.

"It's so tragic, and it's so senseless. My heart breaks for his family and him and his friends," she said.

Castagnera said the teen loved the violin and football and would often take out the trash for fellow neighbors. "Our kids would all play together," she said.

She remembered what happened when police made the horrifying discovery. "I heard the mom crying. Instinctively, I could tell something was wrong with her child. I will never forget it."

Police said Officer Banks initially told them his stepson left the home without any belongings.

Banks, who has been on the Baltimore police force for three years, has now been suspended without pay. Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Banks' police powers had already been suspended over a prior incident.

"I'm not privileged to comment about what the previous incident was about," Commissioner Harrison said.

Anne Arundel County police are handling the investigation. WJZ was at the home as forensics units were back on the scene Wednesday gathering more evidence.

"We are going to follow that evidence," Sgt. Cooke said. "…Let's not forget that's a family who lost a child."

The cause of death is pending examination by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

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