A Baltimore cop has been charged with murder and child abuse one week after officers found his step-son’s body in an upstairs access panel.
Eric Banks Jr., 34, has been in custody since July 6, after authorities said he tried to disarm a police officer following the discovery of Dasan Jones, 15, in a wall in his Curtis Bay loft.
Officers found bloody clothes nearby, they announced at a Wednesday news conference, where they announced that Dasan’s death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation.
In charging documents obtained by the Baltimore Sun, police wrote that Dasan also had injuries on his neck, face and mouth.
‘Based on a combination of the evidence collected at the scene, the timeline of events, statements provided by Mr. and Ms. Banks, as well as the ruling of the [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner], there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Mr. Banks killed Dasan Jones and attempted to conceal his body from law enforcement,’ Detective Kelly Harding wrote in a statement of probable cause.
Banks was charged with first and second-degree homicide as well as child abuse leading to death on Monday.
He had previously been charged with assault and resisting arrest, and was being held in protective custody as a potential suicide risk.
Police are still investigating the case, they said Wednesday, and are trying to determine a motive for Dasan’s death.
Dasan Jones was found unresponsive in a hole in the wall of his family’s Curtis Bay loft on July 6
Jones, 15, was the step-son of Eric Banks Jr., with whom his mother had two other sons
Court documents reveal his mother, Latrice, had filed for protective orders against Banks that would grant her custody of Dasan, and her two other sons, Evan and Tristan
Dasan’s death reportedly came after two months of domestic violence complaints between Banks and his mother, according to the Sun.
In May, Banks filed for a protective order from his wife, accusing her of threatening him and making false complaints about him, the Sun reports, but he withdrew the petition two days later.
Then in June, Dasan’s mother, Jacinda Banks, filed for protective order against her husband, saying he was stalking her and causing her ’emotional and mental abuse.’
In her petition, which would grant her custody of Dasan and her two other sons with Banks, Evan and Tristan, claimed he owns two guns, but a judge denied the order.
She again filed documents for another order of protection just hours before her son’s body was found, according to documents obtained by WBFF.
‘I am in fear for my life and well being because Eric Banks keeps trying to control, follow and emotionally abuse myself and my sons,’ she wrote in the documents, which also claimed Banks had taken Dasan’s phone and was texting her from it.
In one text, the Sun reports, Banks allegedly told Jacinda he saw her outside a hotel where she was staying.
The petition for that restraining order was granted, according to the Sun, after which she called the Anne Arundel Police Department to ask officers to check on Dasan.
Cops were initially told by Banks that Dasan had left the home in the 1400 block of Stoney Point Way in Curtis Bay, leaving his belongings behind
He reportedly granted them permission to search the home, where they found Dasan unresponsive in a hole in the wall
Police tried to render aid to Dasan until fire department personnel arrived on the scene
Officers report that they received a complainant from Jacinda, at 4.56pm last Tuesday.
In a press release, the officers said Banks initially told them the boy had left the home in the 1400 block of Stoney Point Way in Curtis Bay, leaving his belongings behind.
He allegedly consented to a search of his home, according to CBS Baltimore, where they found Dasan unresponsive in a ‘hole in the wall with a white cover leaning on it,’ according to charging documents obtained by DailyMail.com.
The documents say Banks told the officers that the hole was his ‘gun safe.’
Officers said they tried to render aid to Dasan until they were relieved by fire department personnel.
After the discovery of the body, Banks reportedly asked to say goodbye to his two other sons.
He then became ‘combative and tried to disarm an officer’ by trying to take her Glock 17 handgun from her holster, Anne Arundel police said in the news release.
A distress call was sent out to fellow officers about an officer in trouble as she struggled to gain control of her weapon, Mulcahy said at the Wednesday news conference, adding that upon his arrest, Banks said: ‘My life is over,’ and begged for the officers to choke him.
Officers also said he told the female police officer she was ‘gonna have to end this,’ as he tried to grab her gun.
It took five other officers to safely arrest Banks, the Anne Arundel police department said.
It was not immediately clear when Dasan was declared dead.
Officers ruled Dasan’s death a homicide by asphyxiation, with injuries to his neck, mouth and face, they announced Wednesday
The death was investigated by the state medical examiner’s office
Banks had been a police officer for three years, receiving a gross pay of $88,933 during the 2020 fiscal year, the Sun previously reported, and had served in the United States Marines for 11 years, ultimately receiving the rank of sergeant before he was discharged in March 2018.
He had received several service awards and medals, after being deployed to Afghanistan three times, and served as a recruiter in his final year.
Banks had already been suspended from the Baltimore Police Department for a ‘prior incident, CBS Baltimore reports, and is now suspended without pay.
His attorney, Warren Brown has previously asserted that Banks found Dasan dead in a bathtub and believed he had committed suicide.
At a bail hearing last Thursday, Assistant State Attorney Jason Miller said Banks admitted to moving Dasan’s body ‘from one location in the home and secreted it to another.’
‘He has shown that he is not afraid to resort to violence,’ Miller said.
Banks was ultimately denied bail that day.
Dasan was a magnet student at Glen Burnie High School and was an accomplished violin player, according to the Baltimore Sun
He was described as a quiet and kind boy
Dasan had just finished his freshman year as a magnet student at Glen Burnie High School, where he was enrolled in a biomedical program and played the violin.
‘This was a young man with a bright future,’ Police Chief Amal Awad said at the news conference on Wednesday, adding that her heart aches ‘for his grieving mother and siblings.’
Dasan’s funeral was held on Monday.
Friends have said he was a quiet and kind boy, who ‘would not hesitate to help others,’ according to Awad.
Kayla Wright, who went to school with Dasan, has started a GoFundMe on behalf of Latrice Banks.
‘Hi, my name is Kayla I went to school with Dasan. He had such a good soul and it is such a tragedy that he had to leave us so soon and so young,’ Wright wrote.
‘I created this to help his family and his mother through this hard time. This is for his funeral expenses and extra cash for his family. I have used the platform I have to bring awareness to this tragedy and hope to raise the money to help as much as I and we can, thank you.’
She added: ‘Justice will be served and you will finally be in peace.’
The fundraiser had surpassed its goal of raising $10,000 for the family by Tuesday, netting $11,987.
After news broke about Dasan’s tragic passing, tributes started flowing in on social media.
Joseph Aposhian, who identified himself as Dasan’s cousin, said he ‘couldn’t believe that the news was true.’
‘And as I write these words, I can’t help but ache, knowing that another beloved family member is gone too soon,’ Apsohian wrote on Facebook. ‘The only comfort being that I know I will see them all again someday. Dasan, I LOVE YOU.’
He continued: ‘You weren’t just my little cousin. You were family, my brother, and my closest friend.’
‘I remember holding you on the day that you were born. We were almost 5 years apart to the day, and it made my world to know that I was gonna have my 1st cousin born so close to me. It was the greatest birthday present ever!!! And I knew from that moment, that we were gonna be best friends.’
Aposhian said that Dasan, who seemingly went by DJ, had ‘forever changed’ his life.
‘Being an only child, I ALWAYS wanted a brother…and I never got that. But when you came, I didn’t care anymore cuz you were much better,’ Aposhian wrote.
‘You made me feel like I mattered, and that I WASN’T alone. You played Hot Wheels with me. Swam together. Rode bikes together. Watched movies together.’
He added: ‘You may have considered me your role model, but it was the other way around. I WILL ALWAYS LOOK UP TO YOU. I admire your Courage, your Honesty, your willingness to Speak Out, and your Vibrant Love for ALL.’