John Raymond Fauver was installing a railing Friday on the top level of his Whiteford home that he was turning into a “princess closet” for his wife, Jennifer.
They bought the house in 2016, two years before they would marry. The renovation became Fauver’s main pastime, as he was unable to work due to chronic pain in his knees from years of being a communications lineman, his wife said.
“He had chronic pain issues that led to pain management,” she said, “which led to opiate use, which led to addiction, which led to a tremendous amount of physical and emotional wreckage.”
However, Jennifer noticed her husband was agitated “over really nothing” on Friday. He’d long been suffering from depression and sought treatment for it, but the next day, she and his sister approached him about potentially seeking mental health care at Sheppard Pratt. When they approached Fauver, he didn’t seem to hear what they were saying, she said.
“He was completely down the rabbit hole of depression and pain,” she said.
He stormed out of the house around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, she said, threatening suicide, so she called the police.
Harford County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at 2:44 p.m. to deal with a “reportedly suicidal subject,” according to a statement released by Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler. Fauver was located by deputies in the Bel Air North Village shopping center behind the Forest Hill CVS.
Jennifer said that she didn’t know about her husband’s death until “well after the fact,” and she found out from the news media. She also didn’t know that he’d died at a hospital rather than at the scene.
“I would have liked to know that,” she said.
Jennifer talked about her husband’s death Monday in an interview at the couple’s Whiteford home. She was joined by his sister and mother-in-law.
Jennifer said that while her husband had not used opiates in the past two years, he had recently tried to use medical marijuana but that it wasn’t enough for his “unmanageable” pain or his mental illness.
“His loneliness was profound. His isolation was profound,” she said. “And I was powerless over that.”
His opiate use had also caused him to be less able to heal from joint infections he had after a double bilateral knee replacement. That surgery was in July 2019, and he had six follow-up surgeries between then and the following spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jennifer said.
She said that Fauver couldn’t really walk, and became less able over time to continue with their home renovation.
“He really wanted to finish the house, but he couldn’t,” she said. “It did not blow up all at once. It was a gradual buildup.
“There were times where he would just look at me and he would just be so, so incredibly sad, and just say, ‘I’ve only ever wanted a simple life. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,’” she recalled.
In a text message sent to friends, community members and colleagues of hers, Jennifer wrote: “John committed suicide by police officer. My heart is broken for the officers involved. My heart is broken for John.”
Fauver was believed to have had a long gun at the time of the shooting, according to the sheriff’s office. His wife said she did not know whether he had one at the time, nor did she know anything about the scene. She said they had bought a shotgun around the beginning of the pandemic and would sometimes go target shooting with friends, but that he kept the gun in a locked portion of his truck.
“John was not a gun person,” said Judy Smith, Fauver’s mother-in-law. “He never hunted. I don’t think he would have had the capability of killing an animal. He hated it when animals were hurt. And for entertainment, he sat and watched videos about kittens and puppies.”
“For real,” Jennifer agreed, noting that her daughter referred to her husband as a “teddy bear with tattoos.” Jennifer also said he was “amazingly intelligent” and a “problem solver.”
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Fauver’s sister, Sharon Fauver, said her brother had the “biggest smile” and “the biggest heart.”
“My heart breaks, but I loved him,” Sharon Fauver said.
Jennifer said a local detective came to her house Saturday, and was later the person to tell her that her husband had died. She said she has an appointment scheduled with a state police representative Tuesday. She knows there’s been confusion among the state and local police regarding the investigation, but she said she doesn’t care, nor want to know.
“Getting information has been impossible,” she said. “It’s been very difficult for me.”
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office has clashed with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office over who was allowed to investigate the shooting. A 2021 state law placed the onus of investigating police officer-involved civilian deaths on the attorney general’s office, but a spokesperson from the attorney general’s office said the Harford County Sheriff’s Office did not allow state police investigators at the scene to collect evidence.
“John did not want this,” Jennifer said. “But once you get down a rabbit hole to a certain point, getting out is really, really hard.”
Jennifer wrote in her text message to her loved ones that traditional services will not be held for her husband — the house renovations will be finished, and a housewarming party will be held in his memory.