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Police Chief Brags Officer De-escalated After Being Shot Instead Of Returning Fire

Laurel, MD – Police released more details about the shooting of an officer on Wednesday as the Laurel Emergency Response Team (ERT) tried to serve warrants on a 23-year-old murder suspect.

Laurel Police Chief Russell Hamill III told reporters that the shooting occurred as officers were attempting to serve search and arrest warrants on Christopher Grayson Simms on April 20, WBAL reported.

Simms had been charged with first- and second-degree attempted murder, assault, and gun charges an April 11 middle-of-the-day shooting in Laurel.

“We determined that this was a broad-daylight attack. We also determined that the individual had little care or concern for the community,” Chief Hamill explained.

“As I mentioned, they fired numerous rounds, it was broad daylight, it was a day off of school, it was a highly trafficked area and children and members of our community were walking and driving in the area. That gave this person no concern,” the police chief said.

He said the ERT team used a “breach and hold” technique to get into the apartment, WBAL reported.

Chief Hamill said ERT officers forced the door to Simms’ residence open and held it there as they announced their presence.

A split second later, Simms opened fire and shot a Laurel police officer, WBAL reported.

The officer sustained a gunshot wound that went all the way through his arm.

The chief said the wounded officer never gave up command of the situation, even after he was shot, WBAL reported.

“But that officer heroically maintained his position after being shot, protecting the community and his teammates,” Chief Hamill said. “He gave commands to the defendant while notifying other officers that he had been shot.”

“He then continued to give commands to the defendant that also helped to maintain his safety, while again notifying his teammates that he had actually been shot,” the police chief explained.

He said officers did not return fire at Simms and instead used de-escalation techniques, WBAL reported.

“Our officers received fire coming at them and they didn’t deploy their firearms,” Chief Hamill said. “What they did was talk to the defendant, they talked him down.”

“They attempted to calm him and assure him he would not be harmed or injured in any way, and he was not,” the police chief explained.

Simms was taken into custody at the scene without incident, WBAL reported.

In addition to the charges he was already wanted on for the April 11 incident, Simms was charged with first- and second-degree attempted murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence, first- and second-degree assault, intentionally causing physical injury to a law enforcement officer, reckless endangerment, and handgun on their person in connection with shooting the officer.

Police said Simms was the only person in the residence when they arrived.

Officers recovered two firearms, including a rifle, from Simms apartment after he was taken into custody, WBAL reported.

The wounded officer, a 35-year-old, six-year veteran of the Laurel Police Department, has not been publicly identified.

Chief Hamill said he had been released from the hospital to recover at home, WBAL reported.

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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