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Off-Duty Deputy Shoots Man While Trying To Free Himself From Suspect’s Moving SUV

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WHITE HALL, Md. (WJZ) — A confrontation between a Harford County Sheriff’s Deputy and a suspect in a fleeing car turns dangerous.

Investigators are trying to piece together the details.

Alex DeMetrick has more on why the officer opened fire.

It began as a fender bender, and quickly escalated into a chase and gunshots.

The driver of the vehicle is now identified as William Harvey V, 33, of Jarrettsville.

In the end, the SUV couldn’t make the turn from Old York Road onto a side road in Harford County.

But the chase didn’t stop there.

“He engaged the suspect in a foot pursuit, caught him a short distance away. He held the suspect at gunpoint until back-up officers arrived to support him,” said Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ed Hopkins.

It all started when an unmarked Harford County Sheriff Deputy’s car was rear-ended at an intersection.

The deputy, off-duty at the time, confronted the SUV driver and showed him his badge. It’s not clear what they said.

“We believe that the deputy had tried to arrest on the suspect. The suspect then put the car in drive and started to pull away from the accident scene with the deputy still caught by the door,” said Harris.

Harford County farmer Joshua Bruno heard gunshots and knew they weren’t from local hunters.

“Heard a couple more shots, and again it wasn’t like a regular shotgun. It sounded more like an explosion or something,” said Bruno.

Trying to free himself from the SUV, the deputy opened fire.

“If the officer has the belief he’s going to be run over or injured, and he needs to employ deadly force to stop the threat, he certainly has the right to do so,” said Harris.

Once free of the SUV, the deputy ran to his own car and gave chase until that sharp right turn.

Both the suspect and the officer were taken to hospitals for treatment of minor injuries.

Harvey was released from the hospital. He was taken into custody and charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest, obstruction and hindering, and failure to obey a lawful order of a police officer. He was booked at the Harford County Detention Center and released after posting a $3,000 bail.

The deputy was later identified as Deputy First Class Christopher Behles, 37.  Behles has been with the Sheriff’s Office for eight years and is currently assigned to the Violent Street Crimes Unit. He remains on administrative leave.

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