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.”