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Taneytown Police Officer Shoots, Kills Suspect Armed With Hammer

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Edward Becker

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TANEYTOWN, Md. (WJZ) – Maryland State Police shoot and kill a man in Carroll County after they say he attacked an officer with a hammer.

Monique Griego spoke with those who knew him.

Police say the suspect refused to drop the weapon but neighbors are wondering if it could have happened differently.

On Christmas night, a Taneytown neighborhood was the scene of a deadly confrontation. It all started after the parents of Edward Becker Jr. called police, saying the 26-year-old was drunk and attacking cars with a hammer.

“He had just broken the windshield of his father’s vehicle with a hammer,” said Sgt. Marc Black.

Maryland State Police, who are now handling the investigation, say three Taneytown officers soon arrived on scene.

“They approached him and advised him several times to drop the hammer, to put the hammer down. He refused,” said Black.

Black says the officers returned to their vehicles but Becker kept following them and refused to drop the hammer.

“He got within arms’ length of one of the officers and raised the hammer as if he was going to hit the officer,” said Black.

That officer then shot Becker in the chest, killing him.

Becker’s family didn’t want to comment but one neighbor described him as a great guy, but that when he started drinking, a switch flipped. Becker has previous arrests for carrying a handgun and in 2011, he was reportedly under the influence of alcohol when he was arrested for second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and having a dangerous weapon with the intent to injure.

Police say this night, the officer feared for his life.

“When someone’s raising a hammer to strike you, you’re in fear for your life that that hammer could kill you,” said Black.

The officer who shot Becker is a four-year veteran of the force.

That officer involved is now on routine administrative leave.

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