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Man fatally shot near Harford rest stop last week was unarmed, police say

Law EnforcementShootingsTheftMaryland State Police

A man fatally shot by police near Aberdeen Friday, March 21, following a high speed chase that started after a foiled burglary attempt, was not armed with a weapon, according to Maryland State Police.

The death of Rajsaun McCray, 29, was the third fatal police involved shooting in Harford County since last August. Like McCray, the other two men who were killed by police were not armed with a weapon, investigations in both cases have acknowledged.

McCray, whose last known address according to police was in Southeast Washington, D.C., was pronounced dead at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was flown by Medevac following the shooting on the southbound entrance ramp to the Maryland House Travel Plaza on I-95, about two miles south of Aberdeen.

Maryland State Police say McCray was suspected of burglarizing the Target store at Route 22 and Middleton Lane in Aberdeen and fled in a Dodge Caliber with Maryland license plates when Aberdeen Police arrived, after first striking and disabling an Aberdeen police car and injuring the officer who was driving it.

Aberdeen Police pursued the suspect's vehicle onto nearby I-95, where they were joined by state troopers. The chase, which police say reached speeds of 100 miles an hour in both directions on the interstate, ended when police shot McCray as he attempted to drive his vehicle at the officers and their cars on the Maryland House ramp.

Greg Shipley, spokesman for the Maryland State Police, said "there was no gun or other type of weapon" found in McCray's vehicle.

The two previous fatal shootings in August and late September, both which involved Harford County Sheriff's deputies, were reviewed by State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly, who said last week the cases are closed and no charges were brought by his office.

Cassilly visited the site of the McCray shooting while police were still investigating last Friday morning. He said he intends to review the case once police have completed their investigation.

Officers on leave

Three State Police troopers and one Aberdeen Police Department officer who fired their weapons at McCray remained on routine administrative leave Thursday, as the investigation of the shooting continues by State Police.

The Aberdeen officer who was injured when his patrol car was rammed by McCray's vehicle outside the Target has not returned to work. His was one of three Aberdeen police vehicles damaged in the incident, the city's police chief said Wednesday.

Officer Jason Easton, a nine-year veteran of the department, was released last Friday morning from Harford Memorial Hospital, where he was taken for treatment of injuries sustained to his left arm in the confrontation with McCray outside of the Target.

"Right now he [Easton] is off work, pending further diagnosis of his injury," Aberdeen Chief Henry Trabert said.

The chief said Easton has medical appointments this week and next week.

"I'm not sure what the long-term prognosis will be, but the last time we talked to him he was in good spirit," Trabert said.

Trabert said counseling and other services have been offered to Easton and his family, as well as to Sgt. Richard Clark, a 16-year APD veteran, who along with the three state troopers, shot at McCray on the Maryland House ramp.

Trabert said Clark's administrative leave is "a standard policy with our department and most police departments."

The chief said members of the Aberdeen department have offered any services they can provide, "personally and professionally," to Easton, Clark and their families.

"We want to make sure everyone's OK," Trabert said. "This was a traumatic incident and we want to make sure everyone's mental well being, as well as their physical well being, is being taken care of."

Trabert said officials are getting estimates on the damage to Easton's vehicle, which he said "is not operable." He said the other two APD vehicles damaged in the chase had not been put back in service.

Electronics taken

Aberdeen Police were called to the Target around 2:30 a.m. last Friday after store security reported a burglary and provided police with a description of the suspect's vehicle, State Police said in a statement following the shooting.

The main entrance to the Target store has sets of outer and inner doors with glass panes in them. The outer door and he inner door were broken.

Lt. Fred Budnick, spokesman for the Aberdeen Police Department, said headsets, an XBOX game console and iPods were taken.

"All the property that was stolen was recovered," Budnick said.

Shipley of the State Police said no stolen merchandise was found in McCray's vehicle. It all had been discarded near the entrance to the Target.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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