Officers involved in deadly Emmitsburg chase and mistakenly shooting at 15-year-old will not be criminally charged

Maryland

FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The Frederick County State Attorney’s Office has completed its investigation into an October 2020 officer-involved shooting in Emmitsburg, concluding that the officers would not be charged.

On October 19, 2020, a Frederick deputy and Pennsylvania trooper were involved in a chase that led to two separate “use of deadly force” incidents, one of which resulted in a death. The state’s attorney office then hired an independent expert to review the set of facts to determine whether police protocols were followed.

Charlie Smith, State’s Attorney for Frederick County, Maryland, said, “Based upon our review of that expert report, we felt that criminal charges weren’t applicable or not warranted. We found that while their use of force was not appropriate. There’s something called a mistake of factor stance we found that to be applicable here.”

During this pursuit, a 15-year-old bystander was mistaken for the suspect wanted for attempted murder and was shot at eight times. 

Smith said, “We could not prove that they were unreasonable in their mistake of fact that bystander was wearing very similar clothing, had a black cell phone in his hand. So for those reasons we found that a mistake of fact.”

The state attorney’s office exclusively focused on criminal charges, which means there still is an opportunity for the sheriff’s office to conduct their administrative internal investigation. Sheriff Jenkins says the office is working to get done as quickly as possible.

Jenkins added, “This was a very chaotic, fast-moving situation with a lot of circumstances that are very concerning. We’re very lucky, and I said this when it happened, we are very lucky that more people weren’t hurt.”

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