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Maryland Trooper Fatally Shoots 16 Year Old Armed With Airsoft Gun, Knife

Leonardtown, MD – A Maryland state trooper fatally shot a 16-year-old boy armed with a knife and an airsoft replica handgun on Tuesday.

Maryland State Police Colonel Woodrow Jones said authorities received two 911 calls just before 1:30 p.m. on April 13 about “a guy acting suspicious,” CNN reported.

The first caller told the 911 operator that he though the person had a gun, and then disconnected without providing an address.

The second caller provided an address but not their name, CNN reported.

Maryland State Police responded to the scene and the first trooper to arrive encountered 16-year-old Peyton Ham in the driveway “armed with a gun and a knife,” according to Col. Jones.

The colonel said a witness had reported that the armed suspect in the driveway took a “shooting stance” and pointed a gun at the trooper, CNN reported.

He said the trooper opened fire on the suspect.

“The trooper fired at the male, wounding him,” Col. Jones said, according to WRC.

A second witness told police that Ham pulled out a knife and tried to get up from the ground after he was shot, CNN reported.

Col. Jones said the trooper ordered the suspect to drop his knife before he fired at him again.

Authorities rendered medical aid to Ham until the ambulance arrived to transport him to the hospital, CNN reported.

The 16 year old was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Col. Jones said the gun that had been recovered at the scene was identified as an airsoft gun that was “a close representation of an actual handgun,” CNN reported.

He said police also recovered a knife at the scene.

Neighbors reported hearing multiple gunshots, WRC reported.

Investigators found bullet holes in two homes across the street.

Col. Jones said the trooper involved had been placed on administrative leave as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings, CNN reported.

The trooper has been a member of the Maryland State Police for two years and seven months, according to the colonel.

He said the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit was investigating the incident, CNN reported.

“There are many questions we do not have the answer to at this point in the investigation,” Col. Jones said. “However, we are committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine what has occurred.”

He said the completed criminal investigation will go to the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for review, CNN reported.

Col. Jones said that deputy state’s attorney had been on the scene and was briefed by investigators at the time.

Maryland state troopers do not wear bodycams and the dashcam video did not capture the shooting, WRC reported.

The Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Division will also proceed with an administrative investigation which the colonel said is procedure, CNN reported.

Social media lit up immediately after the incident with reports of “another unarmed black man” having been shot by police so police took quick action to shut down that false narrative, WRC reported.

Maryland State Police Spokesman Greg Shipley said that Ham was white and so was the trooper who shot him.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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