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Officer fatally shoots Salisbury man who police said reached for his gun

A police officer in Wicomico County fatally shot a Salisbury man who attempted to grab his gun, authorities sa

A police officer in Wicomico County fatally shot a Salisbury man who authorities said attempted to grab his gun during a struggle with the officer.

Maryland State police said Fednel Rhinvil, 25, was shot by a Wicomico County Sheriff's Office deputy who chased him until the officer stopped him while scaling a fence. Police said in a statement that "a fight ensued and the deputy was pinned on the ground on his back. As he struggled to escape, the deputy saw Rhinvil pull a handgun from his pocket" when the officer fired.

The officer who shot Rhinvil was identified as Deputy First Class Benjamin Jones, 35, a 14-year-veteran of the department. He has been placed on routine administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

Jones was on patrol at about 1:45 a.m. near the 700 block of Dennis St. when he attempted to stop and question Rhinvil and a second man near East Road, police said.

The department had received information about threats that had been made to 'shoot up' a house on Olivia Street, one block over, police said. Residents in the area had also recently contacted police, requesting increased patrols in the area, state police said.

When the deputy called to the men, one stopped, but the other, Rhinvil, kept walking and began to run until Jones caught Rhinvil as he scaled a fence before shooting him.

Rhinvil was pronounced dead at the scene; his body was being taken to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Police found a loaded and cocked revolver from the scene but do not believe Rhinvil fired his gun.

Jones injured his hand during the fight with Rhinvil. He was treated at Peninsula Regional Medical Center and has been released.

The state police homicide unit is investigating the shooting and forwarded the investigation to the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office for review. The state police internal affairs unit is also conducting an investigation.

Anyone who witnessed the shooting is asked to call state police at the Salisbury Barrack, at 410-749-3101 x138.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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