Prosecutor: 2 Frederick Co. deputies who fired on suspect during chase ‘justified’

Two sheriff’s deputies in Frederick County, Maryland, who opened fire on a man involved in a police chase from Pennsylvania into Maryland in October were justified in the shooting, according a report from prosecutors who said the deputies would not face criminal charges.

The deputies, who were only identified as “Deputy 1” and “Deputy 2,” fired on 38-year-old Bryan Selmer after he fled the truck and was on foot near an Exxon parking lot in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Even though Selmer was not armed at the time he was shot, the report from the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office said several witnesses saw him suddenly stop and turn toward deputies with his arms raised, which the prosecutor’s report called a “shooting stance.”

The report also said deputies were reasonable in believing Selmer was armed and dangerous since earlier during the chase, police had been fired on, and the gun used on in that shooting had not been recovered.

“For all of these reasons, Deputy 1 and Deputy 2’s reaction to that split-second situation was reasonable under these circumstances,” the prosecutor’s report stated, concluding it was “objectively reasonable” that the deputies feared for their safety and were justified in defending themselves and others.

Authorities said Selmer was in a stolen Chevy pickup with another man, David Leatherman, who was considered armed and dangerous, and wanted in Pennsylvania on attempted murder charges.

After fleeing a traffic stop in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of Oct. 19, the two men in the truck were chased by Pennsylvania police into Maryland, where the pursuit was joined by four deputies from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

During the high-speed chase, prosecutors said multiple shots were fired at pursuing law enforcement by someone in the truck, and that the truck nearly struck pursuing officers to evade spike strips.

After a spike strip eventually disabled the truck, authorities said Leatherman and Selmer both took off on foot.

Leatherman was arrested in the backyard of a residential area. Selmer took off on foot toward downtown Emmitsburg.

Two of the four Frederick County deputies chased Selmer behind a McDonald’s and toward an Exxon gas station.

Selmer “was not yielding to verbal commands from deputies,” according to the report. He then “suddenly stopped, quickly turned towards Deputies 1 and 2, raised his arms as if he was holding a gun, took up a shooter’s stance, and rapidly moved towards Deputies 1 and 2,” the report stated.

The two deputies both opened fire, firing a total of 11 rounds. Selmer was struck by one bullet to the torso. Six of the rounds hit the Exxon station; a clerk inside was wounded by glass shrapnel.

Several hours later, investigators later found a loaded black Glock .40 caliber handgun about 10 to 15 feet away from where Leatherman and Selmer had fled the abandoned truck.

A brief statement from the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office said the office’s conclusion is “based entirely on the relevant criminal laws and standards of proof in Maryland and does not limit administrative action by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office or civil actions where less stringent laws, rules and legal standards of proof apply.”

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