Police Scene Emmitsburg

Police investigators search an area at the scene of October’s police-involved shooting in Emmitsburg.

Two Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deputies will not face criminal charges in the October shooting death of a man in Emmitsburg, the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

A review by the office found that the Oct. 19 shooting by the two deputies that resulted in the death of Bryan Selmer, 38, was justified.

Officers have to be able to articulate objectively reasonable facts and circumstances to justify their actions, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said Monday.

Police from multiple jurisdictions in Pennsylvania and Maryland pursued Selmer and David Leatherman from Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, in a 2007 Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck that was believed to be stolen, according to the report by the State’s Attorney’s Office. Leatherman was wanted at the time in Pennsylvania on charges of attempted murder.

Police in Pennsylvania had tried to pull the truck over on southbound U.S. 15 near Marsh Creek in Cumberland Township, and the chase continued into Maryland, where Frederick County sheriff’s deputies joined the pursuit.

Police pursued the truck down U.S. 15 to Thurmont and then back toward Emmitsburg, with the truck sometimes reaching speeds “well over 100 mph,” the report said.

Eventually, a Cumberland Township officer was able to get in front of the truck, and several gun shots were fired from the truck at the police vehicle, disabling it.

Pennsylvania State Police troopers and other officers tried to use spiked strips to stop the truck, but it drove into the median to avoid them.

Police were eventually able to stop the truck in the median of U.S. 15 just south of Md. 140 in Emmitsburg. Leatherman and Selmer ran from the vehicle in different directions, and Leatherman was soon arrested in the backyard of a home.

He was extradited to Pennsylvania on Dec. 24 to face charges there, but will eventually return to Maryland, Smith said.

No weapon was found on Leatherman, and dispatchers told officers that Selmer was considered to be armed and dangerous.

When deputies confronted Selmer at the Silo Hill Exxon station, he turned quickly toward the deputies, raised his hands and “arranged his body position in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to believe he was about to discharge a firearm,” according to the report.

One deputy fired three rounds and the other fired eight over two or three seconds, and a report by the medical examiner found that Selmer had a single gunshot wound to the lower right chest.

No gun was found on Selmer or in the area of the gas station.

A loaded Glock 22 .40-caliber handgun was recovered later that night about 10 to 15 feet from the disabled truck, the report said.

Smith said investigators have no other evidence to believe there were any other weapons involved.

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said he was glad the deputies were found to be justified in their actions by the State’s Attorney’s Office.

The State’s Attorney’s Office weighed all the circumstances of what happened that afternoon, “as it was a very dangerous and potentially deadly incident in so many ways, that ended unfortunately with the shooting death of Bryan Selmer,” Jenkins said in an email Monday.

The State’s Attorney’s Office’s release noted that its decision only applied to criminal charges against the deputies, and not to civil action or administrative action by the sheriff’s office.

An internal review by the sheriff’s office’s Office of Policy and Compliance is not complete yet, Jenkins said, but “currently, the facts and information obtained from witness statements and evidence gathered indicates that the decision of the deputies in their use of deadly force, while pursuing Bryan Selmer on foot, was justifiable and in accordance with agency policy.”

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(38) comments

rogy

"When deputies confronted Selmer at the Silo Hill Exxon station, he turned quickly toward the deputies, raised his hands and “arranged his body position in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to believe he was about to discharge a firearm,” according to the report".

In today's world an armed LEO is judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into a single "reasonable" person. What exactly is a "reasonable person"? Well, to learn how the legal concept of "objective reasonableness" evolved, what it legally means and how it molds the decisions our courts make about police action, my suggestion is to listen to (or read) the compelling "RadioLab-More Perfect" 2017 podcast about the landmark 1989 Graham vs. Conner Supreme Court decision.

That single decision elevated the "would lead a reasonable person to believe" rationale to its current status as a central tenet of the "justifiable force" defense. Well worth the listen.

(https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/radiolab-presents-more-perfect-mr-graham-reasonable-man)

jloo

Can we get it right, please? An "unarmed WHITE man" was shot and killed by deputies. One must always report the race of the individual, always!!

yogib

Something is very wrong, when we have our law enforcement killing someone practically every year. Time to clean house.

MD1756

You're right, something is very wrong but you accuse the wrong party. Something is very wrong when someone is suspected of attempted murder flees from one state into another at speeds over 100 mph, and fires shots at police in an attempt to get away. Those people put a lot of lives at risk.

MrSniper

Years ago the city of Newark, NJ police was a disgrace. High crime, unnecessarily violent police. They took steps to change. In 2020, no officer even discharged his weapon.

https://newjersey.news12.com/newark-police-no-officer-fired-a-single-shot-in-2020-thanks-to-de-escalation-program?fbclid=IwAR1rFcNUaz69b4CsG0y_mzYQ-09k1CJYSeDgmRI6PbO2csktuHxKMswnYOw

It can be done. The community has to demand it.

LJF0929

Absolutely! This is "police reform," taking a deep look at our practices - meeting violence with violence, escalating situations, lack of empathy, responsibilities spanning far larger than simply being an officer, etc. When people want to "defund the police," it is in an effort to start from scratch - it doesn't mean no more police, rather providing preventative and protective services for citizens. It also give the opportunity to get rid of the "bad apples." Just as you do not want a mediocre pilot or surgeon - police need to be held to very high responsibility standards and when reporting falls on silent ears or full police departments protect the few that are working against their code of conduct, things won't get better.

Comment deleted.
Girl No.3

Do you have the ability to express sentiment without the rhetorical flourish of the cowardly online insult? It would help further this intellectual discussion.

rogy

Eleven shots in three seconds? Must’ve sounded like the OK Corral or a scene from Bonnie & Clyde. Presumably they had their guns trained on him before he ever made a move. Just one hit. Either they’re remarkably poor shots or they just closed their eyes and fired away. Wonder where the ten stray slugs ended up?

fred703

That was my concern as well. Don't these guys have to pass a marksmanship test every year?

MrSniper

In situations involving high levels of adrenaline, the human body loses fine motor skill. This is not at all uncommon for a real life shooting. You would be shocked to learn how bad at marksmanship law enforcement officers can be. My agency shoots the ICE course biannually. It’s considered by many to be the hardest pistol qualification course. I have witnessed out of a relay of 15 veteran officers, slightly less than half fail their first attempt. That’s on a non-moving paper target that isn’t shooting back. A passing score is 200 out of 250.

LJF0929

My husband watched the whole thing. I heard it while on a zoom meeting. It was two shots, a few seconds of silence, and then a barrage of firing. Sounded like a machine gun to my untrained ears! The man did take a shooting stance but my husband came home and said he couldn't tell if the man did or didn't have an actual gun - but I get it, when you take that stance it is asking for the response it received. The sad part is when the officers ran to the man down on the ground and immediately pulled his pants off by the cuffs and then just stood there as he laid. No effort to render aid. Seems like they immediately looked for a gun and likely started freaking out that he didn't have one. Sad all around.

public-redux

Those uniform pants appear to be of various — one might say non-uniform — colors.

gabrielshorn2013

Casual Friday?

public-redux

Those are the new uniforms. IIRC, the color of the pants was "coyote".

C.D.Reid

Those are the old uniforms. This incident took place in October and the new uniforms were announced to go into effect Jan. 2nd of this year.

https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/crime_and_justice/cops_and_crime/frederick-county-sheriffs-office-unveils-new-uniforms/article_b5c286f8-73a5-58be-b5c0-d8a91f4ed217.html

public-redux

Ah, my bad. Thank you for correcting my mistake.

C.D.Reid

You're welcome, public. [thumbup]

Comment deleted.
sdm817

[thumbup]

MrSniper

Crime & criminals aren’t unique to America. What is unique is the level of violence that the government perpetrates on people who live here on a daily basis. So many unarmed people are killed by police that it’s difficult to keep all the victims names straight. This man was unarmed. The police will tell us they killed him because they feared for their lives. Police work is inherently dangerous. If those who choose that calling can’t accept that without killing unarmed people, then it’s time to choose a new profession. Not that it matters but I have worked in law enforcement for 15 years. It doesn’t take an expert to tell you if you shoot an unarmed subject, more often than not, you have failed. Certain professions aren’t allowed to have a bad day. Doctors, bus drivers, and yes, police officers.

gabrielshorn2013

Ummm...you do realize that the deputies were returning fire from a fugitive fleeing from PA, don't you? The deputies were justified. Stick to the specific instance.

MrSniper

The specifics are that the deputies shot & killed an unarmed man. The only times deadly force is warranted is when there exists a deadly threat & the means & intent to carry it out. There was no threat. There existed no means. Therefore, there wasn’t any intent.

MD1756

Did you read the article? If so, try reading it again. The article does a good job of describing the events.

shiftless88

Gabe; if you read closely you will see that the person they shot was unarmed. He had been armed earlier but when they shot him he was a long way from his gun.

gabrielshorn2013

I saw that shiftless, but the report also states that he assumed a position associated with firing a weapon, and "A loaded Glock 22 .40-caliber handgun was recovered later that night about 10 to 15 feet from the disabled truck". He had already fired at officers in PA, and he had his firearm when he got out of the vehicle. He may have not been armed at the time he was killed, but he should not have assumed a shooter's position if he was not armed. That bluff cost him his life.

shiftless88

gabe; so yes, they shot an unarmed man. He had run a substantial distance from his truck. I agree that there was justification, but it still remains that MrSniper is correct. He was unarmed when shot.

MD1756

You are technically correct but Mr.Sniper is not when he states "There was no threat. There existed no means. Therefore, there wasn’t any intent." As far as the deputies knew, he was armed and was a threat and acted as if their lives (and others if the potential shooter missed his intended target) were in danger. Sine the other criminal was caught and it was determined he did not have a gun, the logical conclusion when the second person runs then assumes a firing position is that he has a gun. They had reason to believe there was an immediate real threat.

MDchange

Millions of police interactions per year with the public, and how many unarmed people are killed per year? If you were a LEO for that long, you should know the number is extremely low.

MrSniper

How many people have to be unnecessarily killed before you start to care? I suppose “all lives matter”, except the ones that don’t. By the way, about a thousand people are killed by police every year. The population of a small town.

MDchange

1,000 per year is correct. The number is too high, I agree. We need to correct that.

However, since you're the one that focused on "unarmed" suspects in your original post, why don't you admit the number that are killed by police per year are actually unarmed? You know the answer (10), but it doesn't fit your narrative.

By the way, I believe you were a LEO, and I respect you for that.

wran

Selmer had fired shots at the PA police vehicle. Was absolutely appropriate for them to assume he still had a weapon and would fire again.

MrSniper

No. Deadly force isn’t used on assumptions. It is the option of last resort. Really, you armchair quarterbacks need to go back to watching sports & action movies. You are totally out of your element.

bosco

Stop when the red and blue lights go on. Remain seated in your vehicle with your hands on the steering wheel. Follow the instructions of the officer. When asked to produce your ID, explain where it is and which hand you'll be using to get it. Move slowly and deliberately. Everybody goes home safely.

Or you can follow the steps the perp here took.

MrSniper

The penalty for failing to comply isn’t death. The police aren’t executioners. Too often, police escalate dangerous situations & people get hurt. People die. These two cowboys Discharged their weapons a dozen times in public & killed an unarmed man. If you are ok with that, that says something troubling about you.

bosco

If you are ok with crooks fleeing the police, shooting at the police, failing to surrender, assuming a shooting position within sight of armed law enforcement officers and expecting the police to react otherwise, that says something troubling about you.

LJF0929

MrSniper, I could not agree more with all of your assertions and appreciate your first-hand perspective. We (USA) have a lot of work to do to reexamine our policing practices.

LJF0929

Great advice for any white person. Often these steps do not protect people of color, or "suspects matching a description." If you do not know anyone that can support this claim, get some black friends in your life. I have black friends that are doctors, teachers, professional athletes, grandparents - and they have ALL experienced "run of the mill" pull overs from police and been treated unfairly and on a few occasions, ended up in jail for a night.

jloo

MrSniper, mall security is not considered a career in law enforcement.

MrSniper

Neither is making snide comments in a small town news paper forum. I’m pretty sure I know more about this topic than most.

Welcome to the discussion.

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