The man shot to death this week by Baltimore County police had approached officers with a knife before, according to court documents in a January incident that bears striking similarities to this week's case.
The department identified the man killed Tuesday as 21-year-old Ryan Charles Deitrich, who they said charged at officers with a knife before at least one of them shot him multiple times.
Investigators had flagged his home on Oakleigh Road in Parkville as a potential hazard, a spokeswoman said, and had taken him once for an emergency evaluation.
On Jan. 12, police wrote in court documents, Deitrich threatened an officer responding to an unknown trouble at the 7-Eleven on Loch Raven Boulevard in Parkville.
The officer drew his service weapon and ordered him to drop the knife, but, the document said, Deitrich continued to walk toward the officer. He eventually fell to the floor and was arrested.
He told another responding officer that "he can't even kill himself," the document said
Dietrich had been struggling with alcohol and severe depression, according to his mother, Holly Deitrich, who lives in Baltimore.
"He wanted help," she said, adding that he recently left a rehabilitation program and had been looking for long-term treatment options. She said he wanted to join the Marines.
"I know he had a butcher knife. I don't think they had to shoot him," she said. "They could have Tasered him. They could have shot him in the leg. They didn't have to shoot to kill."
Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said officers handled the situation appropriately.
"Our officers are trained to mitigate a threat to their or someone else's safety," Armacost said. "Their action here was consistent with their training."
She said three officers involved in the afternoon shooting have been placed on leave, which is routine department policy.
Armacost said the department had marked Deitrich's address with a "hazard flag," which alerts officers to subjects who might "pose a threat to his own or someone else's safety."
In the January incident, court records say, Deitrich fought with officers as they tried to place him in the back of the patrol car, and attempted to bite one of them. Once inside, he tried to kick out the rear passenger window with his feet.
The officers wrote that Deitrich smelled strongly of alcohol. He was taken to Greater Baltimore Medical Center for an emergency evaluation. He was also charged with assault, failure to obey a police order, resisting arrest and related charges.
When he wasn't drinking, Holly Deitrich said, her son was a completely different person, saying he loved to joke and tease.
"He would get me laughing," she said.
She said her son grew up in Pennsylvania but attended Loch Raven High School. He was living with his father at his Oakleigh Road home. He had been working at a Panera Bread restaurant downtown.
The shooting is the second-involving an on-duty Baltimore County officer this year.
On Jan. 30, an officer shot 37-year-old John Michael Rolph Jr. after police said they found him fighting with his stepfather at a Cockeysville apartment. Police said Rolph assaulted the officer as he attempted to break up the fight. The officer attempted to retreat, then shot at the suspect.
Rolph is charged with three counts of second-degree assault.
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