Carroll Co. Police fatally shoot hammer-wielding man

Police in Carroll County on Tuesday evening fatally shot a man who is said to have approached an officer wielding a hammer, according to a press release issued on Wednesday.

Taneytown Police Chief William Tyler said in a prepared statement that officers responded to an incident shortly after 8:30 p.m., on Commerce Drive, after receiving a 911 call. The callers reported that their son had been drinking and acting erratically. The caller's father said that his son was smashing the windows of his truck with a hammer. Three Taneytown police arrived and saw Edward L. Becker, Jr., of the unit block of Commerce Drive, walking down the street toward them with the hammer, the statement said.

Police exited their vehicle and shouted for Becker to drop his hammer and surrender, but Becker continued to approach, the statement said. Police then retreated down the street and positioned themselves behind their vehicles, the statement said. Officers continued to shout for Becker to drop his hammer and surrender but Becker ignored the commands and continued to approach the officers, the statement said.

Becker came to within an arm's length of one of the officers and raised the hammer; the officer fired his pistol at Becker, striking him in the upper torso. Becker was transported to Carroll Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead, the statement said.

The officer, a four-and-a-half-year veteran of the Taneytown Police Department, has been placed on routine administrative leave by Tyler, who declined to give the officer's name. Only the officer who shot Becker fired his pistol, the statement said. The statement said that routine administrative leave in a police-involved shooting is department procedure, and the shooting is being investigated by the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit.

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