Man shot by police officer in Harford is AWOL soldier

The Baltimore Sun

The man who was shot and wounded by Aberdeen police Monday is a soldier who had been away from Aberdeen Proving Ground without permission since last month, military officials said yesterday.

Army officials said Pvt. Evan Parker, 22, of Pittsford, N.Y., had been AWOL since late August. Aberdeen police said they encountered Parker the night before the shooting when they were called to a disturbance at Ken's Motel in the 600 block of S. Philadelphia Road. Once police determined Parker's military status, they returned him to the base. But the soldier apparently left the base again later that night, police and Army officials said.

Responding to a call about a suspicious person, police returned to the motel at 11:20 a.m. Monday. As an officer approached, Parker displayed a gun. He disregarded the officer's order to drop the weapon and instead began waving it in a threatening manner, said Sgt. Fred Budnick, a police spokesman. The officer fired several shots, hitting Parker.

"The officer reacted for his own safety," Budnick said. "There is no indication that the suspect fired his weapon."

Budnick said he did not know how many shots were fired or where Parker was wounded.

Police said Parker was carrying a nonlethal weapon, a so-called air-soft gun that is similar to a BB gun and shoots rubber projectiles.

"To look at it, you can't tell the difference between that gun and the one I carry," Budnick said. "This is not a military-type weapon, and it's not hard to buy anywhere."

APG spokesman George Mercer said, "We have to assume the gun was his own. It has nothing to do with the military."

Budnick said that during the trip to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Parker told police and medical personnel that he wanted to be shot by an officer. Police served the hospital with an order requiring that a mental evaluation of Parker be conducted before he is released, Budnick said.

Parker was listed in guarded condition at the hospital last yesterday, Budnick said.

Parker has been in the Army for five months, including the past three at APG, Mercer said. He is assigned to the 16th Ordnance Battalion and had been taking advanced training at the base's Ordnance Center and School.

Sgt. James McGarvey, a 17-year veteran of the city police force, was the officer involved in the shooting, Budnick said. He has been assigned to administrative duty while investigation of the incident continues.

The Harford County state's attorney is reviewing the incident. If Parker is charged, he will be released into police custody. Otherwise, he will be released to the Army.

"Whomever he is released to, the Army will put in a claim for him," Mercer said. "He is still a soldier with all the attached requirements."

Sun reporter Madison Park contributed to this article.

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