Taneytown holds memorial walk for father shot by police

TANEYTOWN - Around 40 family members and friends of slain 26-year-old Edward L. Becker Jr., gathered with heavy hearts Tuesday evening to honor their loved one.

Becker was gunned down by a Taneytown Police officer Christmas Day after he refused multiple orders to drop a hammer he was holding and surrender to police, according to a Maryland State Police press release.

An autopsy showed the cause of death to be from multiple gunshot wounds, according to Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The group walked along East Baltimore Street through downtown Taneytown, stopping at the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home, where Becker's funeral was held Monday.

Each person held a candle, and some held signs reading "Enough is enough" and "Justice for Eddie Lou Becker."

Family friend Diane Warner organized the walk. She said it was a way for the community to come together and have their voices heard for Becker, who is survived by a six-year-old daughter.

"It's a way just to get together and show Taneytown that we're not just going to stand by for you to brush another one under the carpet," Warner said.

Twenty-nine-year-old Charles Stultz, a longtime friend of Becker, said he believes there was no reason for the shooting to occur.

"Yeah I understand they had to restrain him or whatever," Stultz said, talking about the police officers. "But there was 100 ways that they could've restrained him besides what they done."

Stultz said the officers could've used mace, a taser or tackled Becker, instead of shooting him.

Officers were dispatched to the unit block of Commerce Drive, shortly after 8:30 p.m. Dec. 25, after Becker's parents called and reported he was drunk and acting disorderly.

According to police reports, Becker had used the hammer to smash windows out of his father's truck.

When the officers arrived, they saw Becker walking down the street toward them. They exited their marked patrol vehicles and commanded Becker to drop the hammer, but he continued walking toward the officers, according to a police press release.

Becker approached to within approximately an arm's length of one officer and raised the hammer, according to police.

That is when the officer shot Becker with his .40-caliber Glock-22 in the upper torso, the report states. He was the only one of the three officers to shoot Becker, according to the report.

Officers administered emergency medical care and called emergency medical personnel to the scene, according to the release. He was pronounced dead shortly after at Carroll Hospital Center, according to police.

"I didn't expect them to kill my boy," said Becker's mother, Robin.

The officer who shot Becker has not been identified by Taneytown Police Chief William Tyler, though he was placed on administrative leave while the Maryland State Police investigates the shooting.

There is no timetable for the investigation though investigators will work quickly to get a report filed with the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office, according to state police spokesman Marc Black.

"They took a daddy away, they took a son away, they took a brother away, they took a cousin, a nephew," Robin said. "It just makes me mad, when they could've just pepper-sprayed him."