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May 16, 2006
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Man with scissors shot by four Md. officers

LAURA MCCANDLISH, SUN REPORTER

Copyright 2006 The Baltimore Sun Company 

Four Anne Arundel County police officers shot and killed an 18-year-old Glen Burnie man who police said ran toward them with a 9-inch pair of scissors early yesterday - the third shooting incident this month involving county officers.

Justin James Fisher was shot multiple times by the four Eastern District officers just after 5 a.m. in Riviera Beach after he refused to drop the scissors and rushed toward the officers, according to Lt. David D. Waltemeyer Jr., an Anne Arundel police spokesman.

Fisher had stabbed himself and threatened his girlfriend in the 8400 block of Arbutus Road, according to a call police received from Fisher's mother just before 4:30 a.m.

In front of a home there, an officer stopped Fisher in his silver-colored Honda Accord, and he stepped from the vehicle with the scissors, Waltemeyer said. The officer and a patrol sergeant ordered Fisher to drop the scissors, but he refused throughout a 35-minute confrontation, Waltemeyer said. Other officers arrived as the still-armed Fisher walked down the street. He stopped near Park and Roland roads, Waltemeyer said.

At 5:06 a.m., Fisher turned away from the sergeant, charging toward the four uniformed police officers, Waltemeyer said. When Fisher still refused to drop the scissors, all four officers simultaneously shot him, Waltemeyer said.

Fisher, whose address was not released, was pronounced dead at Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

Brittany Rihtaric, 17, who lives across the street from the Arbutus Road home, said she awoke during the incident to the sound of screaming. "He was yelling, `Kill me!' He was yelling for some girl, or something," Rihtaric said.

Rihtaric said police chased the young man down the block and she heard them shout, "Put the scissors down." She said the next thing she heard was a single gunshot, and after a few minutes there were seven more loud booms.

"His mom was yelling, `Why'd you ... shoot him?' Rihtaric said. "She was screaming."

While police officers are individually trained on how to use deadly force, they have less experience dealing as a group with a threatening subject, said Arnett Gaston, a clinical psychologist at the University of Maryland, College Park who specializes in criminal behavior.

"Most police academies teach that you are supposed to use lethal force as a last means," Gaston said yesterday. "But the problem here is most training teaches what they should do as an individual but not as a collective unit. When several officers are involved, should they have been trained to act in a collective action?"

Anne Arundel police officers are learning how to use less-lethal beanbag rounds fired by shotguns, Waltemeyer said. The County Council also approved a bill last month allowing officers to carry electronic weapons - the most commonly known being the Taser - though Waltemeyer said the department had yet to complete its research on them.

The four police officers, whose names were withheld, will be on administrative leave pending an internal inquiry and an investigation by homicide detectives - both routine procedures, Waltemeyer said.

Two of the officers have five years of experience with the county Police Department, one has two years and the other 1 1/2 , Waltemeyer said.

The other two shootings involving Anne Arundel officers were not fatal.

On May 2, a 49-year-old man described as suicidal was wounded after he allegedly threatened county officers with a rifle outside his Herald Harbor home.

On May 4, an Anne Arundel police detective, accompanied by county and city police, shot a man he was trying to arrest on a warrant in South Baltimore after the wanted man got into a vehicle and allegedly attempted to run down the officers, police said.

In a May 5 incident, an Annapolis city police officer fatally shot 34-year-old Roger Alan Trott as the man was pointing a gun at a state trooper. The officer remains on administrative leave until that investigation is complete, an Annapolis police spokesman said yesterday.

laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Nicole Fuller contributed to this article. 

Full story: Man with scissors shot by four Md. officers






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