Police fatally shoot woman; Balto. County officers enter house 12 hours after standoff begins; 'I'll kill you'; Rodgers Forge mother threatened authorities with rifle, they say


Baltimore County police shot and killed a 40-year-old Rodgers Forge woman in a bedroom of her home yesterday after she threatened officers with a rifle during a 12-hour standoff, police said.

Police refused to discuss the circumstances of the shooting of Tambra W. Eddinger, a mother of two. A preliminary investigation indicates that she was shot twice in the chest and once in the shoulder, said Cpl. Douglas Irwin, on duty in the department's communications unit.

Said police spokeswoman Vickie Warehime: "[Eddinger] was yelling, 'Don't come in here, I'll kill you.' "

The shooting occurred at 4: 30 p.m., and Eddinger died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center about an hour later. A hospital spokeswoman declined to give details of her wounds.

The standoff in the 300 block of Dumbarton Road began at 4: 45 a.m. yesterday, after Eddinger's husband called police to report that he had fled an argument with his wife and she was armed. Police surrounded the rowhouse and attempted to persuade Eddinger to come out. They shouted to her through a bullhorn and called her telephone number, but the woman wouldn't come out. Her children were apparently not in the house during the standoff.

Police set up a command post at Dumbarton Middle School, next to the house. There Eddinger's husband, Irvin, 47, worked with police to end the standoff. Two homes were evacuated, and other neighbors were told to stay inside.

"She appeared very intoxicated," Warehime said. "As time went on, she got progressively worse."

Irwin said that an hour before the shooting, Eddinger appeared on the tiny front porch of the house carrying what police believe was a .22-caliber rifle.

"That dramatically changes the scope of things, when a person appears with a lethal weapon," Irwin said.

At 4 p.m., police fired tear gas into the front and back of the house and nine SWAT officers entered the building. They climbed the stairs and fired gas into a second-floor bedroom with Eddinger inside.

Eddinger opened a window and stuck her head out to escape the gas, officers said. She was shot moments after pulling her head inside, police said.

Police refused to provide details about the circumstances of the shooting in part because detectives could not begin investigating the gas-filled house, police said.

"We went through excruciating steps to have her surrender without incident," Warehime said.

Eddinger's next-door neighbor said she heard several "explosions" after the police went inside but did not know whether they were gunshots. The neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said she heard officers shouting " 'Tambra, come on out. [This is the] Baltimore County police. We're here to help you.' " Shortly afterward, the woman was shot.

The Eddingers apparently have had a tumultuous marriage, according to court records and those who lived near them. On Friday, Tambra Eddinger was accused of attacking her husband and charged with second-degree assault. The trial on the charges was scheduled for Nov. 22 in Baltimore County District Court.

Neighbors said that police were called to the Dumbarton Road house twice this summer to handle domestic problems between the Eddingers. Police declined to confirm that last night.

Police surrounded the quiet neighborhood of rowhouses. They roped off a three-block area bordered by Dumbarton, Heathfield and Dorking roads. Sharpshooters took up positions in homes and the school.

A neighbor who declined to be identified said: "I don't like it at all. I had the SWAT team in my house and told them she wasn't a bad person."

Another neighbor, Lisa Hurka Covington, the founder of a suicide prevention group, said the standoff was heartbreaking to watch.

"I felt helpless to save her," Covington said with tears in her eyes. "She was a beautiful woman who worked in her garden."

At 1 p.m., police shot a flashbang into the front door, attempting to get Eddinger out of the house. The device, which produces a loud boom and bright light, was unsuccessful, Warehime said.

About an hour later, police fired a rubber bean bag into the front and back doors as a diversion, she said.

Eddinger stopped responding to police at 2: 30 p.m., Warehime said. Fearing for the safety of the woman and the neighborhood, a tactical team entered.

The team shot tear gas into the first floor of the house and entered wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, Warehime said.

Neighbors said police carried Eddinger out of the house shortly after 4: 30 p.m. and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her.

An ambulance took her to a MedEvac helicopter.

Neighbors said that Eddinger was a hairdresser and had recently moved from Virginia to marry Irvin Eddinger.

Sun staff writer Caitlin Francke contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 9/07/99

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