The Curious Death Of Korryn Gaines & Mental Illness, As Explained By Twitter

Something is fishy about the Korryn Gaines story.

If you’re unsure, Korryn was the Baltimore County woman who was killed during an hours long standoff after police came to her house to serve her a warrant for several misdemeanor violations, including resisting arrest.

According to the Washington Post, authorities came to the Maryland woman’s residence to serve her an outstanding warrant from a traffic stop that ended with her being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Korryn recorded the incident in a 16 minute video that’s been heavily circulated on social media following her death.


The WaPo also reported that when officers came to her residence to serve her a warrant, Korryn and her boyfriend, Kareem Kiean Courtney, 39,  did not answer the door. Courtney eventually came out of their residence with a small child in tow, and was arrested. But Korryn refused to leave.

Eventually, officers gained access to the woman’s apartment using the landlord’s key, and found Korryn sitting on the floor with a shotgun pointed at them, with her son nearby. Here’s how the rest of the events unfolded, according to the New York Daily News.

Police negotiators arrived to talk to Gaines, but the woman continued to point her weapon at the officers, officials said. Around 3 p.m., she pointed the gun directly at an officer and said, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to kill you.”

That’s when an officer opened fire and shot Gaines, who fired back. She was hit several times and pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were wounded.

Johnson said his officer shot the woman because she had pointed her shotgun at him.

Korryn’s 5-year-old was hit by bullets, and was taken to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for treatment. He is now in stable condition, WBAL reports.

After the story broke, I could not help but to question how Korryn died. Essentially, she was killed because she pointed a shotgun at police. But I also wonder whether or not she was having a mental health breakdown? If so, then how is it that a woman having a mental health breakdown was killed by police, especially when there was a negotiator on scene?  Is that the precedent that authorities really wants to set, particularly when mental health resources in the United States are simply awful?

That part of the story bugs me. and it’s a question that will more than likely never yield an answer.

Apparently, I’m not the only person who feels this way, because Twitter users chimed in on the story with the exact same sentiments. Here are some Tweets that discusses how she died, and her mental health.

Good question, Jamil. Korryn absolutely needs someone to shed light on the fact that she wasn’t a bad person with a gun. She was a woman and a mother who deserved to be taken care of, even if she wasn’t having a mental health break down. She did not deserve to die at all.

I refuse to believe that Korryn was an awful mother, or a horrible person for that matter. Your narrative is troubling, to say the least. Korryn didn’t deserve to die at all. In fact, she should be alive to see her babies another day, even if it was behind bars. She deserved to redeem herself, and learn how to positively impact her community from older generations of freedom fighters. That’s what she deserved.

For you to say that someone deserved to die makes you a horrible person, not Korryn. Stop playing God, and have a seat.

Say it louder for the people in the back who didn’t hear you, Drew.

Good question Badiah. According to the WaPo, “Trained negotiators, mental health counselors and Gaines’s father all were summoned to talk her out of the apartment.” So how is it that they all failed to get her safely out of her home? I’d love to see an after action report on it, if it ever goes public.

Spot on, Tehlor. We really do need to talk about mental health in communities of color. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, African Americans have an increased risk of developing mental health issues when they’re exposed to violence. Considering the fact that Korryn purchased a shotgun before her death, I’d say that she fits the bill for someone who was at risk for mental health issues.

You’re so dead on, that I can’t even give you enough thumbs up, hearts, or likes, Patrick. Also, you’ve been a child abuse investigator for 22 years, so you know what it’s like to speak with a woman having a bad day, or a mental health break down. The only thing I can say to you is keep preaching the truth, bro.

Nothing but the gospel truth. Tell ’em, Pat!


This is also true, Mina. Lord knows those tickets can drive you bananas. And the changes that the court system takes you through to pay them is just as frustrating. Especially if you’re unlucky enough to have to pay your tickets to the demons who are JCS. You can take a look at John Oliver breaking down the ridiculousness of that agency here.

I’m not sure if it’s genocide, or Blue Lives Matter first? But if you can see a problem with the relationship between police officers and American people of color, and you’re in South Africa, then I think it’s definitely time for others to give the subject more serious thought, too.

Amen, Brother Thur(hood).