The Harford County Sheriff’s Office has identified three of the five deputies who fired their weapons in a May 30 incident, killing a man who was armed and reportedly suicidal.
Deputies Robert Witt and Brent Perry, of the sheriff’s Criminal Patrol Division, and Detective Daniel Buchler, of the Community Services Division, remain on administrative leave after the incident while the investigation is completed, according to sheriff’s office spokeswoman Cristie Hopkins.
The sheriff’s office is not identifying the two other deputies, whose primary assignment is the Special Response Team, other than to say they are 11- and 16-year veterans of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. Hopkins said it is in keeping with past practice and procedure not to identify members of a tactical operation.
“They are trained to respond to high risk events. This type of response puts them at a higher probability of being involved in incidents that require a level of force to resolve,” Hopkins said.
“Because of the nature of the work that they are called to do, and because they are acting as a team, and not an individual deputy, their information is not published or released.”
Witt was hired in January 2018, Perry was hired in July after 10 years with the Baltimore Police Department and Buchler was hired in August 2015, following a retirement from the Baltimore County Police Department after a 25-year career there, Hopkins said.
Patrol deputies were dispatched to the 4400 block of Colt Lane in Havre de Grace at about 7:20 a.m. May 30 for a report of an armed, suicidal person. They were joined shortly thereafter by deputies assigned to the Special Response Team, who assumed command of the incident, police said.
Deputies negotiated with Steve Huff, 58, who was armed with a handgun and was making statements “consistent with suicide,” for about 30 minutes before he advanced toward them, police said.
When Huff suddenly advanced toward them, five of the 11 deputies who responded fired their weapons “in an effort to resolve incident without injury to deputies, community members, or to the adult female that was at home during the incident,” Hopkins said in an email.
A medic deputy on scene immediately provided medical assistance to Huff, police said. Huff was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured during the incident.
The previous Harford sheriff’s deputy-involved shooting took place in April 2016, when a Baltimore County police officer was shot during an armed standoff with deputies in the Bright Oaks community in Bel Air.
James Ward survived his injuries, but was found dead inside his home in August of that year from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.