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Baltimore County police shot and killed a man who pointed his finger at them in the fashion of a gun on Thursday. Reports say that the police were chasing the man after he tried using a fake prescription to get cough syrup, which led to the fatal shooting.

The Guardian reports that the unnamed man was shot three times in the Baltimore suburb town of Reisterstown, just outside of the city limits where the Freddie Gray protests took place. The police reacted to a gesture the man made, only to discover he was unarmed in the end.

From the Guardian:

Baltimore County police said the man, who has not yet been publicly named, was shot three times in Reisterstown after “reaching around to the small of his back and abruptly whipping his hand around and pointing it toward the officer, as if with a weapon”.

Police said in a statement that the shooting on Wednesday was recorded on surveillance footage from a nearby business, which shows that after falling to the ground he “refuses to comply and keeps reaching into his waistband, as if for a weapon”.

The man was being pursued for attempting to use a fake prescription at a pharmacy, according to police, who said the officer responded to a call from a pharmacist and chased the man across the street. Witnesses reported the officer told the man to stop, police said.

“Narcotics detectives confirm that the suspect tried to obtain promethazine plus codeine at the Nature Care pharmacy,” Baltimore County police said in a statement. “This is a narcotic cough syrup, often combined with alcohol to produce a ‘high’.”

On Wednesday police had said “a confrontation occurred” between the two men and that officers had “not yet recovered a weapon” from the scene. Thursday’s statement said: “A weapon was not found.”

The identity of the man, which has been confirmed by police, will be publicly released after his family has been notified.

Photo: Pyramidx44