Jason Neidig, president of FOP Lodge 128, described Ofc. Armetta as a fun-loving, passionate man who was dedicated to his job.

"Charles was the kind of person [who was] full of energy, loved his job and his new position as a canine handler," Neidig said via e-mail. "He was so excited about making the Aberdeen Canine Program a success."

Neidig added Ofc. Armetta was "passionate" about the Orioles and Ravens and was committed to his family.

"Charles kept everyone on their toes; he was a 'jokester' if you will," he said. "I believe people will remember his sense of humor. Recently my wife and I gave his family some baby clothes and he told me how excited he was. He said he was so excited because he was going to be able to sell the clothing on e-Bay and make a huge profit. Charlie always found a way to make you laugh, smile."


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Aberdeen City Manager Doug Miller also recalled Ofc. Armetta fondly.

"Charlie was one of those truly good guys that one meets in your career," Miller said via e-mail. "He was a devoted dad and husband and for our department[,] he was a great ambassador with his partner Maverick. He was a special person and a special officer."

The Aberdeen Police Department published a statement on its website: "It is with deep regret that we announce the untimely death of Aberdeen Police Department Canine Officer Charles Armetta. Rest In Peace Brother."

Armetta fell off a raised portion of the interstate in Baltimore City, Sgt. Kirk Perez, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, said Saturday.

A viewing will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Schimunek Funeral Home at 9705 Belair Road in Perry Hall.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Stephen Church at 8030 Bradshaw Road in Bradshaw, near Kingsville.

Interment will follow the funeral service at Bel Air Memorial Gardens at 809 Rock Spring Road in Bel Air.

A reception will then be held at the Aberdeen Fire Department at 21 North Rogers St.

The Fraternal Order of Police has also set up a memorial fund. Donations can be made to Charles Armetta Memorial, C/O Harco Federal Credit Union, 1028 Middleton Road, Aberdeen, MD 21001.

Donations can also be made via the FOP website at http://www.fop128.com.

MDTA police received a call at 3:15 a.m. Saturday from someone reporting a person had fallen from northbound I-95 near Exit 52.

Police responded and found Ofc. Armetta in the wooded area beneath the highway. He had fallen about 47 feet.

Ofc. Armetta was with eight or nine friends and family members in a limousine-type bus, Perez said, and the bus had pulled over on I-95 near the off-ramp. It's unclear how Ofc. Armetta fell or why he was on the side of the road, Perez said.

"We're still investigating why he got out," he said. "It looks like a tragic accident at this point."

It was still under investigation Tuesday afternoon, Perez said.

Ofc. Armetta was pronounced dead on the scene by Baltimore medics.

The Maryland State Police crime lab and state forensic investigators also responded.

Ofc. Armetta was assigned to the department's recently reinstated police dog unit. He and Maverick, is a 2-year-old German shepherd shipped from Europe to Castle K-9 in Pennsylvania, had been training with the New Castle County, Del., Police Department. They graduated the 12-week program earlier this summer.

Ofc. Armetta is the second police officer to die in three days, though his death was not in the line of duty.

On Thursday morning, Harford County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Charles B. Licato, 34, a 14-year veteran of the sheriff's office who was assigned to the Apprehension Unit of the Services and Support Bureau, died in a car accident on his to his Cecil County home from work around 2:15 a.m. Thursday.

Neidig said the succession of deaths is especially difficult.

"Harford County citizens have lost two great officers in 48 hours this past week," he wrote. "Words cannot express the sadness or grief, especially with the death of Officer Armetta." 

Staff writer Erika Butler contributed to this article.