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Fact vs Fiction: We Own This City episode 6 — what happened to Sean Suiter?

Jamie Hector as Sean Suiter in We Own This City
Jamie Hector as Sean Suiter in We Own This City (Image credit: Paul Schiraldi/ HBO)

Given We Own This City covered Baltimore’s corrupt Gun Trace Task Force, it didn’t come as a shocker that the series ended with Sgt. Wayne Jenkins (Jon Bernthal) walking into the prison yard. However, what was a little surprising was the death of Detective Sean Suiter (Jamie Hector). The events shown in the series appeared to be quite chaotic and had us asking ourselves what really happened to him in that alley. 

Here what we’ve determined was fact and fiction for We Own This City episode 6. 

Also, be sure to check out our previous We Own This City fact and fiction pieces:

What happened to Sean Suiter? 

The fiction: In the series finale, Suiter is figuratively sweating bullets. Federal investigators have called him to officially discuss what he knows about Sgt. Jenkins' actions in the traffic stop of Umar Burley. Those following the series will recall that Burley was the individual Jenkins pursued that resulted in a car accident. 

Burley stated he was pursued for no reason and didn’t have any illegal substances on him or in his car. However, on the day of his arrest, Suiter "magically" found drugs under Burley’s seat. The federal investigators looking into that crime believe Jenkins planted that evidence at the scene and just want to speak to Suiter to confirm their suspicions.

Fast forward to a little later in the episode. Suiter and his partner go out for a ride to check out an area of interest in search of a witness. In the midst of searching, Suiter claims to have seen a man in a leather jacket running through the alley. When he and his partner try to find him, they spot no one. The two leave and Suiter convinces his partner they should circle back in a few hours to see if they can locate him. 

Once the two return to the alley, Suiter again claims he saw someone running. The detective urges his partner to go wait on the corner to see if the mysterious person resurfaces on that side of the alley, while he waits for him out in front. Suiter then strangely hides behind a van and spies on his partner. After a few beats, Suiter makes eye contact with him and then dashes into the alley. The next thing viewers hear is a series of shots and when his partner races over to him, Suiter is bleeding out on the ground. His last moments of the show are capped with an onscreen statement revealing that an independent review ruled Suiter intentionally took his own life, while others refute that notion. Additionally, his death is still officially ruled a homicide. 

So, can anyone say how Suiter really died? 

Jamie Hector as Sean Suiter in We Own This CIty

(Image credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

The facts: Let’s start by making it clear that sadly, we (and no one else) may ever know what the truth of this situation really was. But here are some of the events that took place in real life.

As reported by CNN (opens in new tab), a month before the shooting, a former officer from the task force who pled guilty to several federal charges alleged that Suiter planted heroin in Burley’s car to justify the high-speed chase. However, the Baltimore Beat (opens in new tab) quotes the former Baltimore commissioner of police Kevin Davis as stating: 

“Detective Suiter was used, he was Officer Suiter at the time. He was used and put in a position where he unwittingly recovered drugs that had been planted by another police officer.” 

As to what Suiter’s possible involvement was in planting the drugs, no one can prove conclusively either way. However, we do know he was scheduled to attend a grand jury to speak on the Burley case. (After declining an interview with FBI investigators he was subpoenaed to testify in a hearing.)

Again, as per CNN, the independent report conducted on Suiter’s death detailed that before Suiter’s mysterious shooting, he requested Junior Detective David Bomenka to accompany him to find a potential witness of a triple homicide. On the actual day in question, while the two were combing through a Baltimore neighborhood, Suiter’s attorney called him twice but the officer did not answer the phone. 

Then in the midst of the officers' search, Suiter made a waving gesture at Bomenka, unholstered his gun and ran into a vacant lot (alley area) yelling “stop, stop, stop police.” The lot happened to be out of view of surveillance cameras. By the time Bomenka arrived to assist Suiter, the latter was lying face down with a gunshot to the head, holding his radio in his left hand with his gun underneath him. 

It’s interesting to note that only Suiter’s DNA was on the weapon. Furthermore, the report stated: 

“Video from a neighbor’s video camera and testimony of two witnesses establish that a suspect would have had a couple of seconds at most to disarm Suiter, shoot him with his own weapon, erase any trace of his presence and exit the vacant lot without being seen or heard.” 

Even in light of this report, Suiter’s widow tells local CBS News (opens in new tab) that she doesn’t believe her husband would have committed suicide. We Own This City writer D. Watkins also casts his suspicion on a suicide ruling by bluntly telling Afro (opens in new tab), “I think he was murdered.” Just to add, the medical examiner in the case listed Suiter’s death as a homicide and the city paid his family a $900,000 worker’s compensation claim. 

This lack of conclusive evidence and the differing statements from everyone involved means that viewers will have to make their own determination on this case.

Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities.  When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The CrownWandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of HarlemAnd a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.