The Harford County Deputy Sheriff's Union declined to comment for this article, as did the Maryland Troopers Association, which represents State Police troopers. The president of the Harford Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents officers in the county's three municipal police departments, could not be reached for comment.

'Second-guessed'

Andrews said he holds Harford's deputies in high regard.

"I cannot imagine this deputy discharging his weapon unless his life was imminently in danger," he explained. "The Harford County Sheriff's Office gets very good training. They [at the training] really bring home the requirement that you just don't pull your weapon out of your holster unless there is a real need to do that."

While other equipment, most notably a TASER, is an option for police, Andrews said using it may not always be feasible because of the distance between people or the physical layout of the scene.

"I would tend to believe, when an officer – in this county, anyway – pulls a weapon, it is probably justified," he added.

Justified or not, Streett said the deputy who fatally shot Mr. Beckman will have to live with that for the rest of his life.

"I know this poor guy was just confronted by a no-win situation," Streett said.

He said people should look at what had happened prior to Mr. Beckman's encounter with the deputy.

"I can picture exactly what happened. You have a split second when the whole world is closing around you," Streett said. "I can't even begin to tell you how fast these things happen."

"After it's all over, you know you are going to be second-guessed by everyone who comes down the road," he said, adding that he received a note from Baltimore officials long after he was shot, saying that they "declined to prosecute" him.

"I never even saw the guy," Streett said of the man who shot him, as well as his partner, in the barricade.

But as a law enforcement officer, Streett noted with a smile, "you have to be right 100 percent of the time."