Maryland State Police Trooper Fatally Shoots 16-Year-Old Boy

The 16-year-old, identified as Peyton Ham, has since been determined to have been holding an airsoft gun when the initial 911 calls came in.

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A Maryland State Police trooper fatally shot a 16-year-old on Tuesday.

The shooting occurred in Leonardtown, a town that’s roughly 56 miles away from Washington D.C. The 16-year-old has been identified as Peyton Ham. Per a news release, two separate 911 calls were received at the Maryland State Police Leonardtown Barrack shortly before 1:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

The first call was from a man who claimed there was someone “acting suspicious” with what he described as a gun, though this was later determined to have been an airsoft gun. The second call, which came about two minutes later, saw a man making similar claims.

A witness cited in a preliminary report from police claimed to have seen the 16-year-old take what was, in their words, “a shooting stance” with the airsoft upon the trooper’s arrival. The trooper then fired, wounding Peyton Ham. Another witness said that, following the first shot from the trooper, the teenager displayed a knife and tried to get up. The trooper then reportedly ordered the teenager to drop the knife, at which point he fired a second shot. 

Aid was given to the teenager by police until the arrival of EMS. According to a report from regional outlet WUSA 9, the teenager was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Per the same report, both the trooper and the fatally shot teenager were white. The trooper, meanwhile, had been with the department for two years and seven months and has now been placed on administrative leave.

Once a criminal investigation is completed, those findings will be given to the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’ Office. A Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Division is also conducting an administrative investigation.

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