(Update) Police: Man Killed in Police-Involved Shooting Christmas Night

A Taneytown man was shot and killed by a Taneytown police officer Tuesday night.

A man was shot and killed by a Taneytown police officer Tuesday night after police say the man threatened the officer with a hammer.

According to a Maryland State Police news release, at approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25, the parents of Edward L. Becker, Jr., 26, of Commerce Drive in Taneytown called 911 to report Becker had been drinking and was acting disorderly. Police said Becker's father reported Becker was smashing windows out of his truck with a hammer.

Three Taneytown Police officers responded to the call and saw Becker walking down the street toward them, according to the news release. The officers exited their vehicles and began shouting commands to Becker to drop the hammer and surrender, police said. The officers, who were all in uniform and marked patrol cars, according to the news release, retreated down the street and positioned themselves behind their police cars.

Police said Becker failed to respond to police commands to drop the hammer and surrender. He approached to approximately within arm's length of an officer and raised the hammer at which time the officer, whose name has not been released, fired his department issued pistol, striking Becker in the upper torso, police said.

Becker was was pronounced dead at the Carroll Hospital Center.

The officer involved, a four-and-a-half year veteran of the Taneytown Police Department, has been placed on routine administrative leave, according to the news release.

Taneytown Police Chief William Tyler requested that the shooting be investigated by the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit. Investigators from the Homicide Unit, the Westminster Barrack, and State Police crime scene technicians responded to the scene to process evidence and conduct the investigation.

The investigation is continuing. Upon completion, it will be forwarded to the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office for review, according to the news release.

Buck Harmon January 01, 2013 at 03:15 PM
I completely agree with this statement....it didn't have to be..
Dave A. January 01, 2013 at 03:54 PM
For the record, someone mentioned Cops questioning Cops?!! Who else should do the investigation? Of course it will be cops! It is there job! MSP was asked to conduct this investigation for a multitude of reasons. To have it reviewed by an outside agency is generally protocol for smaller depts., as they don't have the resources to do it themselves. Another is for scrutiny over the entire ordeal. There will be no guidance or interference from the Taneytown PD.
Buck Harmon January 01, 2013 at 04:07 PM
I believe that killings by cops should be investigated independently outside of any police department...Police policing police is similar to the fox guarding the hen house..
Buck Harmon January 01, 2013 at 04:08 PM
The Sheriff's department has the most authority though..
Dave A. January 01, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Dave A. January 01, 2013 at 06:05 PM
The Sheriff has power it doesn't make them the experienced investigators to handle said situation. The County Sheriff did not patrol or do homicide investigations until recently . MSP has been doing it a lot longer, has the technical abilities and resources necessary to handle the investigation. Again, something the Sheriff's Office does not have. As for the fox/hen house comparison.... Really? Buck if you think that is the case you are sadly mistaken. When an outside agency investigates anything involving another agency they are also placed under the microscope. Nothing will be left out of this investigation. You are beginning to concern me with your conspiracy theories! I am done posting on this. I have tried to shed some light on this subject from the eyes of an experienced Law Enforcement Official (patrol 15 years, Vice/Narcotics 5 years, Homicide 7 years, Internal Affairs 5 years). What I will urge all of you reading this is to do the sensible thing and wait for the details to be completely released. It will probably take some time for the report to be completed. As for those seeing this as lack of training,I strongly disagree. Did this young man need to die? No, but he made the choice by raising an improvised weapon and approaching the officers not heeding the warnings. Is this officer going to have to live with this? Yes and it will be tough to deal with. Counseling and time will ease the pain , but the memory of that night will be frozen in time.
Ed January 01, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Really, Buck? Please explain how the sheriff has the "most authority" in this case. Also, of law enforcement isn't supposed to investigate these shootings, please tell us who should. And please b e specific.
Buck Harmon January 01, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Based on the many years of perceived experience that you share..( don't know if it's true), I would expect this kind of defense from a retired cop...If you are telling me that the 3 cops had no other option but to take the life of a human being, I'm telling you that you are flat out wrong...and that your many years of experience did in fact leave out some very important, potentially life saving training...fox guarding the hen house would be the case..
Buck Harmon January 01, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Fact Ed..based on the authority of the US Constitution the office of the Sheriff has more authority and power than the State or any local police department...
Steven R. Ramalski January 01, 2013 at 11:06 PM
I did read an article not to long ago where a Taneytown Police Officer shot the gun out of a suicidal mans hand as he was about to shoot himself. It was in the late 90's and the guy survived.......so they do have some training or folks that are marksmen!
Buck Harmon January 01, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Also Dave A. ..an elected Sheriff is held to a greater degree of accountability to the citizens than any police dept. in general could ever be.. accountability is what is needed here. I know ...said you're done posting on this... typical...
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Buck,I am for real. Based on all of your comments I suspect that somewhere in your life you had a negative interaction if not more involving a law enforcement official As for the sheriff yes, they do have more power and the only accountability is to his voting public. My point is merely that they have now expertise in homicide investigation or the resources that the MSP has. As for your point on the fox/he house as well as an attack on my credibility again I expect that from someone that has a negative personal interaction with law enforcement. I guess we should just agree to disagree but even so, if MSP says it was a righteous shooting you still will be unhappy again I point to your personal interactions with law enforcement. I have never said that the shooting was indeed righteous, just inserted my opinion as having investigated many myself based on the details the media has released assuming they are correct. As for the training of the officer, what exactly do you know about said training? I am willing to bet that the answer is nothing, again pointing to your profile I posted above. It is a shame that the individual was shot. It is also a shame that he chose to put himself, his family and the police in this position.
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 03:07 AM
That, my friend was LACK OF TRAINING! Shooting at a small target like a hand, while trying to focus on shot placement while an individual is more then likely shifting, shaking, with the possibility of hitting something else in the background is LACK OF TRAINING! This is the stuff buck should be citing!
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 03:09 AM
Also, to note the Sheriff in Carroll County is a retired MSP Ranking Officer. He should have no issue with MSP investigating the shooting!
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 03:17 AM
Read this article, it shows my point of the Sheriff Office conducting homicide investigations... And Steve, it looks like you commented on this as well... http://westminster.patch.com/articles/murder-charges-dropped-attorney-general-blames-sheriff
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Most of these small towns go thru a Md State Police Training course set at Springfield State Hospital or on the Eastern Shore Training Facility. They have the same training thru out, with the exceptions of major police departments in other counties/cities in Md. that have their own academy. Those major academies meet the same criteria as the smaller jurisdictions along with more training specifically aimed at local laws.
Buck Harmon January 02, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Dave, This past summer I witnessed an off duty State Cop sway over the center line of MD Route 30 in Baltimore County and hit a young lady almost head on, driving her into a wood fence. I was on foot and right there when it happened. I didn't know he was a cop until the cops came and hustled him into the back of the ambulance that responded... I helped the cop to the side of the road ,(before I knew he was a cop) and he was drunk as a skunk. The young lady was trapped in her car with the airbag blown but they seemed to recognize the State trooper and i witnessed the cover up begin...I had not spoken to the cops that responded, just listened and observed... overheard the fact that this same cop had run into a house in Hampstead while drunk previously. I made it a point before leaving to share what I had witnessed after it seemed that this event was well on it's way to a cover up. I've talked to ex cops that I grew up with that have also verified the truth about how they will go to great lengths to protest their own. This was in fact a bad and very real experience. I still feel for the young lady that was hit by the drunk State Trooper. Do a little research on this one with some of your spare time...check it out!
Buck Harmon January 02, 2013 at 03:24 AM
protect their own
Buck Harmon January 02, 2013 at 03:36 AM
I now believe that it is a civic responsibility to always question perceived authority in these deadly situations..
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 04:50 AM
So Buck, because you witness this it means all cops cover up? Please, if that were the case I would be never had a need to be in IA when I was working! And they would be never cover up a shooting they are in estimating as an outside agency! They are under the microscope now as well. If this is the accident I remember hearing about that trooper was suspended, and eventually terminated!
Buck Harmon January 02, 2013 at 05:10 AM
Ok Dave...I don't think that the killing in Taneytown had to happen, you seem to, we disagree on several points with regard to proper training as well.. I've witnessed bad cops, you haven't...fact remains there are. This shooting should NEVER have occurred in my opinion, it seems to be ok in your opinion and if the cops say it is, it is. You're right , I will have a problem with that determination based on what has been reported to date, and I do believe that it was more a result of lack of proper training and equipment. I never said the cop was bad, just the killing of the young man... The stuff that I witnessed was in addition to several other stories shared with me from ex cops, and no I would never assume that this is the norm. Stories like this killing bring serious questions though. We each deal with them differently I guess. I don't participate in these blogs for the hell of it...I care.
Buck Harmon January 02, 2013 at 05:16 AM
The trooper was terminated because there was a witness willing to testify..
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Buck, I never said that I never saw bad cops, in the 5 years I was IA I was involved in 7 terminations and one charged criminally. The shooting, should the beloved media have the facts correct seems justified. Training we will just have to disagree on until this officer is found to have been involved in a bad shooting. As for the trooper that was terminated I had heard this thru friends and am glad that someone came forward to push his charges forward.
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 11:40 AM
I also forgot to say how much "bad cops" disgust me. It is why I transferred to IA. Not many police officers like IA and I knew it would be my last assignment before retirement. I have seen some marginal issues with officers they IA that made some minor mistakes to s few guys that I just could not fathom why they did what they did other then greed... I finally threw in the towel after the last thre fellows we investigated as a mini task force. It was enough to make me question if I could be effective as an investigator.
Buck Harmon January 02, 2013 at 01:38 PM
I respect your thoughts and opinions Dave...Happy New Year ..
Dave A. January 02, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Same to you Buck!
Just_another_opinion January 06, 2013 at 01:13 PM
There are good and bad individuals in every profession obviously, not just law enforcement. Those who have chosen this career path are held to a higher standard than others. I have met police officers I don't like and I know others that are decent people that care about their community. I would not let any previous experience I've had form my opinion about someone that I don't know. The truth will come out in the end- karma is inescapable.
Kym Byrnes (Editor) January 09, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Patch checked in with the State Police PIO to see if there are any updates to this story. The response was as follows: "The State Police investigation into the police involved shooting is active and ongoing. When it is complete, it will be presented to the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office for review. There are no 'official' findings at this point." Patch will continue to follow this story.
TTown January 27, 2013 at 12:26 AM
How many of you live in Taneytown? How many of you live on that street? How many of you saw with your own eyes what happened ? I live very close to where this took place and have a family member who is a MD State Trooper. He told me the officer who shot him had NO CHOICE but to shoot the guy. He said the whole event was taped and it is very clear he had no choice. The guy was Drunk and out of Control. That is why his OWN FAMILY CALLED the Police. The Police showed up, asked the guy to calm down and drop the hammer. He charged and cornered one officers and got shot. From I have heard the officer will not be charged. It was an unfortunate night of events and a man lost his life because he was drunk and acting like a moron. He was a danger to his family and then went outside and was a danger to the public. Society needs to start taking responsibility for there own actions, stop blaming others for there problems, pick themselves up and Pass GO. If you get drunk or HI, go outside act like an Idiot, try to rob someone or break into a persons house, you may get shot, end of story.
Just_another_opinion January 27, 2013 at 02:32 PM
I agree with you TTown, and yes, I live here too. I feel badly for Becker's family- the whole event has been a nightmare for everyone. No, I did not see what happened that night and therefore will refrain from any judgement. I would be willing to bet that if that officer had fired his weapon to protect someone else from being killed that people would have praised his actions instead of questioning his actions. It's just sad that it had to come to that. What about that officer's right to protect his own life? What about his right to go home to his family? I am sure that the incident that happened that night will be with him forever, and I'm sure that he wishes it never had to happen. The Taneytown Police are decent people- they work days, nights and holidays for less than average pay to protect this community and they deserve our respect. This is a very unfortunate situation for everyone.


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