Harford County Executive Barry Glassman was sitting at his desk in his Bel Air office at 9 a.m. Thursday, going over documents for a meeting later that morning, when he saw multiple police cars speed past his window.
The cars were headed to a workplace shooting at a business on Perryman Road south of Aberdeen, where sources say multiple people were shot, four fatally, including the alleged shooter.
“I have a [police] radio in my office. I turned it on and just listened to it unfold,” Glassman said after a media briefing on the shooting in Aberdeen late Thursday morning. “It’s almost like a plague going across the country.”
This is the second mass shooting during his term as county executive, he said, recalling the shooting last October at Advanced Granite Solutions in Edgewood, which left three dead and two others wounded.
“You read about it and hear about and you see it in sleepy communities,” Glassman said. “it’s really spread into all communities across the country.”
“You’re always sad for the victims, the people who go to work, trying to make a living and end up not being able to come home at night to their families,” Glassman said.
While Perryman is a heavily industrial area around the Rite Aid facility, where the shooting happened, there are neighboring residential communities that are relatively quiet, he said.
“It’s a fairly remote area with large distribution center[s],” he said, some of which have opened since he became county executive in late 2014.
In addition to his empathy for the victims, Glassman said he’s also nervous for the first responders from across Harford County and from neighboring jurisdictions, who answered the call for help.
“They’re walking into areas [where] they don’t know if there’s still a shooter,” he said.
Following the shooting deaths of two Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputies in February 2016, Glassman said he’s more sensitive to the first responders.
Following the media briefing, Glassman returned to his office while the Sheriff’s Office continued its investigation.
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Later Thursday afternoon, he planned to visit the reunification center at Level Volunteer Fire Company, which had been set up for employees from the business park where the shooting occurred, to meet their families.
His job right now, Glassman said, is to remind and reassure county residents that “while these occurrences are out of the mainstream, unfortunately they happen everywhere … . But we constantly prepare and drill not only to deter incidents like this but so we have a response plan in place so we can respond quickly,”
“We have one of the premiere active shooter drilling operations in the state. Fortunately we are equipped to handle this,” Glassman said. “They really did a fantastic job in responding quickly, securing the area and carrying out an efficient operation. It’s sad to say, but we have to be prepared, and our folks are.”
Cecil Co. response
Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy, whose county has residents working in Harford and vice-versa, issued the following statement Thursday morning:
"Like many Cecil and Harford County residents, I am deeply saddened and outraged over the shooting incident that occurred in Aberdeen, Maryland this morning,” McCarthy said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and also with the first responders who are on the scene.”
“I personally reached out to County Executive Barry Glassman a short time ago,” he continued. “Cecil County government, Cecil County Sheriff's Office and the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services will continue to provide support and assistance to neighboring Harford County as the details of this horrendous tragedy unfold. Stay safe and God bless."