While giving chase last year to a man in Emmitsburg wanted for attempted murder, a Frederick County sheriff's deputy and Pennsylvania trooper mistook a 15-year-old bystander for the suspect and shot in his direction eight times, a report from the state's attorney's office reads.

The Frederick County State's Attorney's Office investigated the Oct. 19, 2020, shooting and found the unidentified officers' "use of deadly force" against the teen — who was not struck by the officers' rounds — was not "objectively unreasonable," the report released Wednesday states.

As a result, the office will not pursue criminal charges against the Frederick County Sheriff's Office deputy or Pennsylvania state trooper.

On Oct. 19, police from multiple jurisdictions in Maryland and Pennsylvania pursued David Leatherman, 43, who was wanted in Pennsylvania for attempted murder, and Bryan Selmer, as they fled in a vehicle and later on foot. Selmer, 38, was shot dead by Frederick County Sheriff's Office deputies. The state's attorney's office in January determined that shooting was justified.

Leatherman, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, was extradited to Pennsylvania to first face charges there. He remains held in Pennsylvania without bail, online court records show.

On Wednesday, a new report provided details about a second instance of shots fired Oct. 19. The discharges were directed at a 15-year-old boy who crossed paths with Leatherman as the suspect fled from police on foot along Md. 140 in Emmitsburg. The state's attorney's office's report found Leatherman and the teen — both white males and reportedly similar in stature — each wore gray hooded sweatshirts at the time of the shooting.

The 15-year-old and a 13-year-old were standing on the side of the onramp to U.S. 15 southbound adjacent to 47 Park Drive when Leatherman and Selmer ran from their disabled vehicle, the state's attorney's office report reads. Leatherman ran directly toward the minors and the elder teen tried to push the 13-year-old out of the way, causing the 15-year-old to "stumble and fall to the bottom of a hill in the backyard of 47 Park Drive," according to the report.

A deputy saw Leatherman flee in that direction before he disappeared from view behind the foliage, the report reads, and a few seconds later the deputy saw the minor emerge from the foliage, holding a black cell phone. The deputy "apparently mistook" the 15-year-old for Leatherman and fired at the minor five times. The teen took cover behind a tree and was not hit, the report states. One round was found lodged in the tree.

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins told the News-Post on Wednesday afternoon that the sheriff's office is conducting an internal investigation into the incident. The deputy involved has been working on modified duty since the shooting and is not on the street, Jenkins said. The sheriff has directed the internal affairs staff to finish the investigation as "quickly as possible" and said he would update the media at the investigation's conclusion.

The deputy later told investigators he thought he was firing at Leatherman and did so because he saw "splashes" in the dirt that made the deputy believe he was being shot at, the report reads. A review of dash camera footage later showed Leatherman would not have been visible to the deputy at the time the deputy discharged his firearm.

"In the chaos of the situation, he believed that teenager was in fact one of the defendants," Jenkins said in an interview.

A Pennsylvania State Police Troop H spokesperson declined to comment on the trooper's involvement.

Seconds after the teen took cover, Leatherman reportedly fell down the hill into the backyard of 47 Park Drive, about 20 feet from where the 15-year-old was.

A Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, officer then took Leatherman into custody, out of view of a Pennsylvania state trooper.

The state trooper then reportedly fired three rounds at the nearby 15-year-old.

The trooper, in an interview with investigators, said he thought Leatherman was firing at him, when in fact the gunshots the trooper heard were from the deputy, the report reads. The trooper told investigators he was firing in self-defense. As with the deputy, dash camera footage showed Leatherman would not have been visible to the trooper at the time he discharged his firearm, according to the report.

It was unclear Wednesday why the shooting against the minor was not disclosed until seven months after the incident. Jenkins said police did not intentionally withhold the information.

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller 

(83) comments

threecents

Our lead commentator and NMP are back - both with great comments. My first thoughts on this incident were about how tough it is for law enforcers to be in a situation like that, but then my thoughts went to "defund the police" and how the whole attitude this country generally has about law enforcement could be changing.

Plumbum

For (7) months this incident was not reported to the media. Huge event. With every deputy at FCSO in the now about the event.

And Trumpkins claims it was not kept a secret. That could be dispelled, it’s called witnesses.

You know what this reminds me of? It reminds me of the Deadly Halloween party at Cactus Flats and how just like that, it was as if the murder never happened.

Raise your hand if you too notice a pattern.

gabrielshorn2013

Reported TO, or reported BY plumbum? The FNP could have easily found this information, but they didn't. Should law enforcement provide a breakdown report for every apprehension for the local newspaper? No.

Yeah, and about the Cactus Flats incident, you swore up and down that it was the Pagans, and cited your "inside sources". How'd that work out?

Plumbum

Just sharing my observations. It’s allowed here. You don’t have to agree. It’s gonna alright.

Plumbum

1) 2nd picture. Non of them wearing masks.

2) is that detective Chris smith with his back turned?

Comment deleted.
Plumbum

I did? Have we met?

gabrielshorn2013

You did, and maybe, maybe not.

gabrielshorn2013

It was outside in the bright (and disinfecting) sunlight.

Plumbum

Back tracking?

gabrielshorn2013

No, not at all.

Comment deleted.
Plumbum

I’m certain That Those that lost loved ones to covid or those that were or are hospitalized With covid do not say “so what”.....

Awteam2021

https://www.fox43.com/article/news/local/adams-county/police-high-speed-pursuit-that-began-in-adams-county-ends-with-officer-involved-shooting-in-maryland/521-d17523a0-b4de-4677-80be-a2ccef0f7997

Plumbum

Ever notice that FCPD (that stands for Frederick City Police Dept) has never had the instances of neglectful acts amongst their officers?

Why is that?

Is it because the leaders of FCPD all have formal educations and degrees?

Is it because a min 2 yr degree is required to even be considered for the position of officer?

Class, let’s think about this. Just stop for a moment and think about it.

PeteRefer

You are wrong. You didn't even do a basic search for the information you are spouting. The abbreviation for Frederick City Police Department is FPD not FCPD. As for your accusation that FPD doesn't have personnel that screw up... are you kidding? I agree.. please think about it for a moment.

From FPD website:

Selection Process

Minimum Requirements

Police officer basic minimum requirements:

You must be a United States citizen and at least 21 years of age by graduation from the police academy.

You must possess at least a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate recognized by the State of Maryland.

Plumbum

Thanks for being a Level III fan! Love ya!

PeteRefer

What does that mean. Does it mean you will think a little more before you tell lies... fake news.

Plumbum

Pretty sure most see my point.

Also, notice I spelled out what FCPD stands for. You should think a little more before replying......

Plumbum

Thanks again for all your support!

Plumbum

Trumpkins still fouling up.

Plumbum for sheriff

gabrielshorn2013

Give it a rest Plumbum. You have zero credibility. Was the Sheriff at the scene? Did he fire his weapon? No on both accounts. What did he bust you for?

Plumbum

The FNP pictures show sheriff Trumpkins at the scene, to answer your question. Hope this helps.

gabrielshorn2013

Was the Sheriff there when it all happened? No. He was there in the aftermath for a debrief. Try to be honest.

Plumbum

Nice spin!

You asked I answered!

gabrielshorn2013

Not spin at all Pb. Just the facts. He was not there when the chase was ongoing, nor when any shots were fired. He arrived after the incident for a debriefing. So, exactly how did he screw up the incident after it happened?

PurplePickles aka L&M

Plumbum..I was wondering where you went..LOL ..I love the name you know..plum, purple. I think you get why I love your name.

Awteam2021

Shift, I’ll provide some push back.

I grant you that - Police are put in extremely stressful conditions, having to make split moment decisions, clearly not knowing who’s ‘friend or foe.’ While placing their own lives at great risk (in policing the community) against those that would violate social structure and do harm to them. No question.

I don’t think the officer was intentionally trying to shoot the wrong persons, only he almost did. Thank God, he didn’t shoot anyone, suspects - or - standbys. But “shooting first and ask questions later” isn’t taught at the academy or sudden be. The police were fired on earlier would make anyone feel uncomfortable. But I would hope not causing them to shoot indiscriminately. I hope that’s not a “best practice”. The ideal of policing is to have regard not disregard for innocent bystanders. Yes I would agree, conditions should be considered, giving slack to the officer’s training Ann conditions. I recognize , “a suspect goes into the bushes and then someone who basically ‘looks like’ the suspect emerges from those bushes with a black object (a cell phone) in hand. I’m willing to except the officer’s decision on the moment, but the officer’s training? How can we better prepare officers for these types of encounters?“He looked like the suspect, he had a black object in his hand. I felt I was being fired upon” . Maybe so but those excuses are becoming sounding as the go to excuse like “the dog ate my homework”. I’ve heard these excuses so many times for wrongful shootings and deaths. Should iPhones no longer come in black? Maybe we all should have pink iPhones or facial recognition apparatus, maybe a global tracking protocol for firearms? The The technology is there.

Bad luck that a kid that was the same size and dressed alike to the suspect. Where did it say they were both wearing grey hoodies? Then happened to be playing hooky from virtual school with a friend at the Intersection of Route 15 and 140. It was good luck that the deputy is a terrible shot. What ever wrongful shooting should be held accountable.

shiftless88

A reasonable push. I guess I am not saying "ignore this and go on" but I also don't think this is as egregious as so many other police shootings have been. Incidentally, from the story, "The state's attorney's office's report found Leatherman and the teen — both white males and reportedly similar in stature — each wore gray hooded sweatshirts at the time of the shooting."

Awteam2021

“My bad”, noted they “ each wore gray hooded sweatshirts at the time of the shooting.” Even though I can’t accept that as an excuse for the officer’s decision, I can see in the heat of the moment someone in a hoodie as a “bad guy” based on social biases. Even though , I would like to think, today, we could do better. I just hate to think my child would be shot, killed, apprehended by police or seen as a threat or anyone else’s child based on wearing a hooded sweat and carrying an iPhone. That’s seems extreme. I wouldn’t want the police running through my community shooting at White or Black people walking, jogging, or just standing around wearing hooded sweatshirts carrying their iPhones, approximately the same height. That’s a poor defense argument based solely on dress, a black object in their had or their stature, without no “direct threat”. Where was the aggressive actions on the children’s part requiring deadly force? Just being “in the wrong place at the wrong time“. Where the police become more of a threat than the foe.

shiftless88

Keep in mind they were chasing the guy, knew he was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, lost him in the bushes, and then this teenager wearing basically the same thing pops up from the bushes. It wasn't like they were chasing a guy in a red t-shirt and shot at a kid wearing a hoodie.

gabrielshorn2013

Shiftless [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Awteam2021

I appreciate the sensible discussion.

NewMarketParent

I think it is feasible that the officer made a mistake. The problem is that there should have been alternatives to be considered where use of lethal force was last on the list. If they are not absolutely sure that the area is clear, than they should not fire back. At the point where the suspects were in dense brush, a reasonable response would have been to surround the area and then slowly close the circle around the suspects. At the same time, there should be deescalation explaining to the suspect about how this will not end well for them and that cooperation is their only way to not make the situation worse for themselves. I do realize that I am playing Monday Morning QB here, but I don't think my suggestion is unreasonable.

Plumbum

We all make mistakes. Some professions have no room for mistakes. Law enforcement is one of them

Samibeana

Just some background information. The dash cam has this as 14:43. On a normal school year, that's right around dismissal. In the fall, school was still virtual, with live sessions ending around 12:30pm. They weren't playing hooky. They were out of school at the end of the day hanging out. We need to do better if children hanging out after school are at risk for getting shot at for being Caucasian (in a VASTLY predominately Caucasian part of the county might I add) and wearing a gray hoodie in October.

shiftless88

I know a lot will disagree with me but you have to keep in mind that at this point these suspects had already been chased for miles by multiple police cars, taken shots at police, and had shown a great disregard for lives. Plus the reason they were being pursued was for a murder. At the time this happened the officer knew that this person was armed (whether he had ditched the gun already is irrelevant; he had clearly been armed and shooting) with a willingness to shoot at the police. I don't know how similar in stature and dress the teenager was with respect to the suspect but if it was pretty close (which is sounds like it was) and you see a suspect go into the bushes and then someone who basically looks like the suspect emerges from those bushes with a black object in their hand I am willing to give some slack to the police. This is very different from those situations where they are stopping someone for a brake light out and shoot at them when they run away. These suspects were a clear danger to police and public. It was bad luck that a kid that was the same size and dressed alike happened to be there and good luck that the deputy is a terrible shot (this was well within range for pistols, despite the comment below). Sure you should increase training. Sure you can work on situational awareness, but this was a freak situation. When someone is armed and has already shot at the police and now running I think we have to allow police to assume that the person will be shooting at them next time they see them and not require that the gun be brought around to point at them.

AOC

[thumbup]

NewMarketParent

@shiftless88

My response to this is who should be a bigger danger to the public, cops or criminals? If the answer is cops, than we have a problem.

I think if you are under fire, it is reasonable to grab cover and try to de-escalate rather than try to charge in with guns blazing especially if you aren't sure that their are no civilians around. You are creating a danger to everyone if you just start firing back.

Back to my original premise... the criminals should be a bigger threat to the public than the police.

Dwasserba

Wow. Some fifteen year old has a highly qualified guardian angel due for a commendation.

PurplePickles aka L&M

That guardian angel should also be commended for ensuring that fifteen year old has his chance to not only attend college but have it paid for with the civil suit.

AOC

[thumbup]

sevenstones1000

This should be horrifying to everyone in Frederick. The fact that some people are more concerned about marksmanship says just about all you need to know about the best Frederick has to offer.

Awteam2021

It’s ironic that Maryland just passed the police reform package that repealed the state’s police “bill of rights” of 1974. Going forward officers will be held personally accountable, citizen's entitlement to due process of police officers misconduct. Overturning the old law will make officers personally accountable for “use of force”, and liable. Now you can challenge was their actions “necessary and proportional? “

Time for police to be required to have malpractice insurance. That will filter out a lot of incompetent or simply bad cops.

NewMarketParent

@awteam2021

That's the only way I can see us getting to fair treatment for everyone under the law. I hope it will make keeping bad officers around untenable.

rlc5495

This just proves what everyone in Frederick Co has always known. That the sheriff's office is staffed by a bunch of clowns. But I am surprised that a State Trooper was involved in this. And why was this info withheld from the public for so long? The whole episode is horrifying.

AOC

[thumbdown]

joelp77440

Idiots! Many issues with the case, the first is that handguns are accurate to about 25 feet and if fired in stress, much, much less. The officer was clearly at least half a football field away if not more. That is a reckless discharge of a firearm and he should be fired.

Awteam2021

Should police officers fire at suspects if not under fire 🔥? Do they have that authority? Especially without discretion.

shiftless88

they had already been shot at by the person they were chasing.

NewMarketParent

@shiftless88

I don't know if immediately returning fire is such a good idea, especially if you do not have a clear line of site on the person shooting at you. This scenario could have ended tragically for innocent civilians.

shiftless88

I hear you, and am not saying the Deputy is blameless and nothing should change in response. I am just trying to point out that this is not nearly as egregious as so many incidents of police shootings that we have been seeing around the country. I agree that he could have held station behind his door or in his car, using the speaker or just yelling to come out with their hands up. His sight lines were obscured between him and the target, and behind the target. I just said I am willing to give this guy a break and work to learn from it rather than firing him. It was bad but within the range of what I might expect.

PurplePickles aka L&M

Shiftless makes a good point probably within even realizing it, we have set the bar so low of what we expect from cops that shooting Willy Nilly just because is something that we can cut them some slack on. Think about that.....shouldn’t we have higher expectations, we should be we don’t.....name another profession we would let get away with what we let the cops get away with? Take your time..,,

shiftless88

Purple; soldiers get away with more. The fact is that the massive amounts of guns freely available to anyone in our society has made the police more tense and increased the number of these incidents. This is why we need a different approach to policing. As it is I understand why they are so tense and make mistakes but that does not excuse them. It points to a need for a new approach in a broad sense.

NewMarketParent

@shiftless88

I don't exactly buy the soldier argument as they have pretty well-defined rules of engagement. There are penalties for killing/maiming civilians. In fact, many of the people who serve in the military that I have heard from are often peeved that the police seem to receive: little to no training, no well-defined rules of engagement, and no real penalties for egregious behavior.

That said, I don't necessarily believe that firing is the best possible solution here. But, this does fit in very well with the narrative that the police have a culture of ignoring public safety in performing their duties.

BornToHula2

Holy.... We're supposed trust these people?

AOC

Excerpt from FCSAO Statement:

After the review of all available evidence and application of expert opinion to that evidence, the FCSAO declines to bring criminal charges against the two officers involved. This decision 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.

Sounds like Sgt. Ensor may need a new subordinate at the courthouse.

NewMarketParent

JFC

When did we become so casual about almost killing innocent people.

This whole situation feels like "no harm, no foul". And why was the information not released until now?

Also, it seems like a reasonable response to a potential shootout would be to take cover and try to reason with the shooter.

This whole situation sounds like Yosemite Sam was trying to catch a bad guy.

PurplePickles aka L&M

You and I both know that cops are not capable of reasonable responses when they think they can accidently kill someone on purpose. This cop thought he could kill the "bad" guy and get some pats on the backs from his fellow cops. Also I missed you...

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

Missed you too. Life just really started flying around for a bit, but is settling down. Hope everything is well.

PurplePickles aka L&M

So far all is well, bored but been keeping busy. I’m just happy to see you back, with everything that’s going on I was a tad worried?

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

I'm fine as a fiddle and complete vacc'd up.

I will say it has been nice not worrying that I am going to see the sky lighting up with nukes when I wake up in the mornings.

I go through cycles where I get really busy in work/home and then things settle down. Plus, I like to stay busy so I am always working on about 20 projects at any one time. How have you been?

PurplePickles aka L&M

Yep all vacc’d up too. It’s weird but I really wasn’t worried about nukes, I considered the source. The source was not going to blow up his narcissistic supply, which is us, whenever we reacted to him. I also am taking a tad of pleasure in knowing what pain he must be in right now because his narcissistic supply has been severely limited.

Plumbum

Pretty purple pickle I’ve MISSED YOU :)

cez4

BNick467, Your comments are exactly right. It would take a lot of training hours to throw many different scenerios at trainees in which they would have to have the intelligence, observation skills, ethics, and emotional conscience to recognize the potential dangers and weigh risks, safety factors and benefits of possible interventions in crisis situations. Even more important is that often this decision making, and police response or lack of response needs to be decided on the spot and recognized by the officer as a legally permitted action.

bosco

Breaking News?

jth7100

Eight shots, all misses, thankfully. Back to the range for you. One of the rules of shooting any firearm is to see your target which the cameras demonstrated could not happen. There should be some sort of training for this kind of encounter.

PurplePickles aka L&M

All kids look alike I suppose??? Anyways I wonder how much the civil settlement will be for? I'm thinking start at 10 million and go from there.....our tax dollars are sometimes well spent.

Plumbum

Sheriff Trumpkins just keeps making people richer and richer with his negligence

shiftless88

Holy smokes! Nice shootin', Tex! I would side with the police on this incident given the similarities in stature and dress, and recalling that this suspect and/or his buddy had already taken shots at the cops.

dcheesep

Wasn't it found that neither suspect had a gun?

PeteRefer

Didn't have a gun... wonder how they were shooting at the police then? I'm pretty sure these aren't the only facts in the case.

gabrielshorn2013

At the time of apprehension neither perp had a firearm on them. The shooter ditched it before being apprehended. However, the did shoot at officers before that while attempting to flee.

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed shiftless. However, I am concerned with the officer violating the principle of knowing your target and what is beyond it. The kid and the perp looked very similar, but should the officer fire when he couldn't clearly identify the target? That's how people get killed during hunting season.

shiftless88

Yes; but if they have already been shot at and someone is in the same place at the same time with something black in their hand then I give some leeway. Could he have waited until it was more clear or there was an action by the suspect that looked like aiming a gun, probably. But in general once shots have already been fired at police I am willing to give them more leeway. I am just glad they are such poor shots.

Awteam2021

This was last year? I’m glad to hear the child wasn’t shot. But clearly, there needs to be major reform in policing. And who’s buying that excuse? He thought he was being fired own? What with, Emmitsburg expletives?

Greg F

Really....someone needs to have their azz handed to them on a platter as they get canned for this.

gary4books

I could be happy with some extra training. Nobody is perfect.

MD1756

What if the 15 year old had been hit? Would you still be happy only with extra training. I take a tough stance against criminals (I would re-institute the death penalty and expand it to cover more crimes) however I can't agree with police shooting at someone who isn't shooting back. They lost sight of the criminal, they should wait for positive identification or for someone to shoot at them. After all, a trained officer fired 8 times and couldn't hit his target, what is the likelihood a criminal will hit someone in body armor in a critical place. The police shouldn't be emptying their clips unless they are actively being shot at. It's clear at least that the officer needs to go back to the firing range. The risk of hitting someone else/something else when the officer misses is too great in a situation as shown in the picture. I believe the officer's actions were reckless at best.

mrnatural1

Well said MD. [thumbup][thumbup]

Awteam2021

There was a 15 and 13 year older in harms way. Sorry. No retraining, fired, along with his boss and who ever trained him? Sorry if you’re given the authority to shoot people, to take someone’s life, and can’t discriminate who to shoot someone needs to be held accountable. Poor marksmanship was a blessing but needing glasses is no excuse. Shooting everyone or indiscriminately isn’t a police training application.

bnick467

Recklessness is what you get when any yahoo with an attitude and an inferiority complex can become a "qualified" (lol) police officer with only 21 weeks training. There is not enough time in that training period to weed out those who are not psychologically fit to be responsible with the authority and power to end other people's lives. Other countries require 2, 3, or even 4 years of training before being given that much responsibility, and you don't have instances like this in those countries. No police reform will be effective if we don't require a training program for all cops in the US that not only teaches them the law they are supposed to be upholding, but also includes psychological testing to make sure we aren't handing weapons and qualified immunity to someone who isn't mentally capable of handling that much responsibility.

matthewboh

Nobody's perfect? There's forgetting to cross a t or dot an i, but then there's shooting blindly at innocent people that are extremely lucky they weren't injured or killed. Nobody's perfect? Sheesh!

rlc5495

[thumbup]

threecents

Not a perfect aim either - unless the officer was not trying to hit the suspect.

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