Neighbors recall moment of fatal shooting on Bel Air's Althea Court

Witness took video of man being shot by Harford Sheriff's Office deputies

"I saw the muzzle flashes and heard the yelling and whatnot," said Gregory Hicks, as he described the fatal shooting of a neighbor by police following a several-hour standoff in Harford County Wednesday evening.

As he stood outside his home on Althea Court, a quiet group of townhouses on a cul-de-sac a few miles south of Bel Air, Hicks on Thursday morning recalled the scene some 12 hours earlier, when the 36-year-old man, whom police have identified as Travis Boyd Bradley, went down in a hail of police gunfire.

"They were kind of at a standstill for quite some time," Hicks said, explaining that police tried to get the man to surrender, broadcasting messages to him over a loudspeaker.

Harford County Sheriff's deputies shot and killed Bradley, who was reported to be suicidal, after a standoff in Abingdon that began at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement released at about 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Bradley was shot and killed on Althea Court, off Tollgate Road near the Festival at Bel Air shopping center.

Hicks, 31, said he could hear snatches of the man's defiant replies before he was fatally shot by deputies.

"[He said] something to the effect of, 'Why should I come out?'" Hicks recalled.

Hicks captured the moment of the shooting, which happened shortly after sunset, on video.

Multiple shots can be heard crackling on the video Hicks took, followed by shouting from the officers.

Hicks, whose home is across the cul-de-sac from Bradley's, said he could not see the man's actions, however, because of the trees in the cul-de-sac's island.

Hicks said police officers continued to shout instructions to Bradley after he was down, telling him to put his hands up. Bradley died at the scene, he said.

Hicks said the police then moved in with a bomb-detecting robot to clear the house of any suspected explosives.

"I saw them put their Kevlar [vests] and their K-pots [helmets] on," said Hicks, who spent several years in the Maryland National Guard.

During the standoff, the street in the Country Walk community was locked down, with some residents sheltering in their basements and others stuck waiting in neighboring shopping centers, as scores of Harford County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team members and other police officers poured into the area.

The Sheriff's Office said Bradley had shot at deputies about 30 minutes after they arrived, before retreating back into the house.

"After extensive attempts at negotiation, and repeated attempts to convince the suspect to peacefully surrender, he exited the residence in the direction of deputies," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement released late Wednesday night. "His actions caused Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies to be in fear for their personal safety and that of the surrounding community leading deputies to fire upon the suspect, mortally wounding him."

The fatal shots were fired around 6:30 p.m., the Sheriff's Office said.

No other injuries were reported, either to police or residents. According to the Sheriff's Office, Bradley was alone inside the house during the entire incident.

After the house was cleared, the dead man's body remained on the front lawn, covered by a body bag, until around midnight as officers investigated the scene, Hicks said.

Hicks said he did not know Bradley, but had heard he was a military veteran.

Hicks said a number of families with young children live on Althea Court.

"It's a pretty quiet neighborhood," Hicks said. "This is probably the last place on the planet you would expect something like this to go down."

William Blankenship, who lives directly across the street from Bradley, said police asked to use Blankenship's second-floor window to set up sniper-like positions, and he allowed them to do that.

He said he did not see Bradley show a gun or approach police aggressively.

"My mind told me, you know, from experience, that police don't shoot you unless you're armed or their life's in danger," Blankenship said. "I did not see him with a gun. All I heard is, pop, pop, pop, pop, and I looked out the window and the body was lying on the front step, and then they had a robot come and pull the body off the step."

Blankenship also described the standoff leading up to the fatal shooting.

"I thought eventually he would come out with his hands up and whatever," he added.

Blankenship has lived in the neighborhood for "a long time" but did not know Bradley.

"Neighbors here are rather secluded," he said.

"My take on everything is, I'm like shocked that this could happen in my neighborhood," Blankenship said. "It's a very nice neighborhood."

Several other people out in the neighborhood Thursday who were asked about the shooting, but who declined to give their names, said they either were not home or sheltered in place when police arrived.

A few people were walking their dogs, power walking or pushing a child in a stroller along South Tollgate Road Thursday. Trash cans and recycling bins were out on front lawns, and a garbage truck moved along the cul-de-sac.

A landscaping crew was in the community across South Tollgate from Althea, putting mulch around trees.

At the small shopping center a short distance from Althea Court, that includes a Dunkin' Donuts, a cleaners and a Papa John's pizza restaurant, business appeared to be normal Thursday morning. The shopping center had been a staging area for police and a mobile command center Wednesday night.

Aegis staff member Bryna Zumer contributed to this report.

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