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Maryland State Police trooper fatally shoots boy, 16, in Leonardtown after authorities said he pointed airsoft gun, wielded knife

A Maryland State Police trooper shot and killed a 16-year-old in Leonardtown on Tuesday after the agency said the boy was pointing an airsoft gun at a trooper and wielding a knife.

Supt. Col. Jerry Jones said during a news conference Tuesday night that around 1:30 p.m. the agency received two 911 calls for a suspiciously acting male who looked like he had a gun.

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The incident happened not far from the Leonardtown Barrack and a trooper was on the scene in the 23000 block of Hollywood Road within minutes, Jones said. Hollywood Road, also known as State Route 245, is a main thoroughfare in the St. Mary’s County town of nearly 4,000.

The trooper saw the 16-year-old, Peyton Ham, in the driveway with a gun and knife, Jones said, and witnesses told the agency that he was standing in a “shooting stance” pointing a gun at the trooper. Jones said the trooper fired and wounded the boy.

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Jones said another witness told state police that after being shot, the boy pulled out a knife and tried to get up. The trooper ordered Ham to drop the knife, Jones said, before he fired again.

The boy was transported to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital where he died, Jones said.

Police recovered an airsoft gun that looked like a handgun and a knife from the scene, Jones said.

Jones said Ham did not live at the house where the shooting occurred and that the department is investigating why he may have been in the driveway.

The teenager was white, as is the trooper who shot him, according to Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley.

The trooper, who officials did not identify, has been with the state police for two years and seven months, has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, Jones said. The trooper was not hurt, he added.

Maryland State Police troopers don’t wear body cameras, and Jones said investigators will look for video from the surrounding area. He said dashcam video didn’t capture the incident.

“There are many questions we do not have the answers to at this point in the investigation,” Jones said. “However, we are committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine what has occurred.”

St. Mary’s County sheriffs responded to the scene alongside the state police, who are investigating the incident.

No St. Mary’s County Public Schools locked down or dismissed early, an official in the superintendent’s office confirmed.

Leonardtown is about 60 miles (95 kilometers) southeast of Washington, D.C.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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