Police-involved shooting in Mount Airy leaves man dead, woman in custody

Police describe a fatal shooting in Mt Airy on July 10, 2017. (Ken Koons/Carroll County Times)

A man is dead and a woman in custody after a police-involved shooting in Mount Airy, according to the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and the Howard County Police Department.

The shooting involved officers from the Howard County Police Department, according to both law enforcement agencies.


Frederick County Sheriff's Office Maj. Tim Clarke told the Times both the male and female were in their mid-to-late 20s. Clarke said the names of the two individuals have not been released, nor have the names of the Howard County police officers.

Members of the Howard County Police Department's Repeat Offenders Unit were in Frederick County on Monday morning as part of a multijurisdictional investigation into a series of ongoing burglaries, according to a Frederick County Sheriff's Office news release.

The officers observed a burglary in progress on Manor Drive in Mount Airy and contacted the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, according to the release. The Howard County police officers were instructed to conduct a traffic stop on the suspect's vehicle by Sheriff's Office authorities, according to the release.

During the initiation of the traffic stop, the suspect vehicle rammed a Howard County police vehicle on Penn Shop Road near Md. 27 and drove toward officers who were out of their vehicles, according to the release. Two officers fired, striking the male suspect, who died.

Clarke said there is no dash camera footage or body camera footage of the incident, which took place in the 12900 block of Penn Shop Road. It is not yet known how many shots were fired, he said.

Thirteen-year-old Yessica Garcia-Benitez, who lives across the street from the scene of the shooting, said she was in the kitchen helping her mother when she heard a gunshot.

"I heard one gunshot," she said.

Garcia-Benitez said the gunshot seemed normal at first because people like to hunt at a nearby pond. But then when she heard police sirens, she thought someone might have tried to rob one of the gas stations nearby. Garcia-Benitez said she didn't hear sirens or yelling prior to the gun shot.

Nick Ritter, who owns Ritz Construction and the property Garcia-Benitez's family lives on, said he didn't hear anything and didn't know something had happened until he heard helicopters.

Howard County Chief of Police Gary Gardner issued a statement following the incident, stating the fatal shooting occurred on the Frederick side of the county line.

"Because the incident occurred in Frederick County, it is being investigated by the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. I have been in touch with Sheriff [Charles] Jenkins and assured him that Howard County Police will cooperate fully in their investigation and provide them with any information or assistance they need. I am confident Frederick County will conduct a thorough and detailed investigation," Gardner said in the statement.

The Howard County Police Department will initiate its own internal investigation, which, Gardner said in his statement, is standard in all police-involved shootings. The two officers, who are members of a specialized unit focused on repeat offenders, have been placed on standard administrative leave, he said.

"It is a difficult day when there is an incident that results in the loss of life," Gardner said. "We will continue to work with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office to ensure investigators have access to all the information and assistance they need."

Penn Shop Road is closed at Md. 27 while the investigation of the scene continues and will be for some time, according to the release from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.


Charlie Gischlar, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said that Md. 27 was closed at Penn Shop Road starting just after noon, but as of 3:15 p.m., Md. 27 was reopening. At that time, Gischlar confirmed, Penn Shop Road was still closed.

Staff writer Heather Mongilio contributed to this article.