WALDORF — Two Maryland sheriff’s deputies were in good condition Tuesday after being shot multiple times a day earlier while trying to serve a warrant for a probation violation, a spokeswoman said. The shooter was found dead hours later.
The Charles County Sheriff’s deputies were stable and in good condition “thanks to a bulletproof vest, the officers who were able to get them out of the situation and good doctors and nurses,” spokeswoman Diane Richardson said.
Richardson identified the wounded deputies as a 10-year-veteran assigned to patrol and an officer with less than one year of experience, also assigned to patrol. Their names were not released.
According to a news release Tuesday, a family member of the man had recently contacted the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office to say the man was violating his probation on an assault conviction. A warrant was subsequently issued, after which a relative called 911 and reported the man was at the home, the news release said.
Deputies responded to the 911 call at 3:47 p.m. Monday. Additional deputies were dispatched because there were concerns about the man’s mental condition and the danger he might pose, Richardson said. He was said to be experiencing a “mental health episode,” she said, citing the call.
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The deputies coordinated a plan to take the man into custody as safely as possible, but when the family member let them inside and they began going upstairs, the suspect came out of a room and opened fire, Richardson said. The two deputies who were shot were removed from the house by their colleagues and then flown to a hospital for treatment.
The officers returned fire, but it’s not clear yet how many shots were fired or if any of them hit the suspect, Richardson said.
The man, identified as Denzell Nathan Clarke, 28, then barricaded himself inside the home and deputies were not able to make contact with him, Sheriff Troy Berry told reporters at a briefing Monday evening.
Eventually, authorities used a drone to determine that Clarke was dead with a gun nearby, Richardson said in a news release Tuesday. The 9 mm handgun was a Polymer “ghost gun” made from kits that are sold online and have no traceable serial numbers. Officers also recovered an extended magazine containing 22 live rounds, the news release said.
Richardson said it’s not known whether Clarke was shot by deputies or if he took his own life. That determination depends on an autopsy, she said.
As for video from the incident, Berry said his deputies aren’t equipped with body cameras.
Waldorf is an unincorporated community 25 miles south of Washington.