Reporting Derek Valcourt
BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — A Harford County sheriff’s deputy shoots and kills a 19-year-old accused of vandalizing local businesses.
It happened Saturday night in the Forest Hills area, just north of Bel Air.
Derek Valcourt explains what led up to the shooting.
By all accounts, this young man was unarmed, but acting bizarrely and aggressively. The officer apparently shot him in self-defense.
Inside Sharon’s Shaved Ice, cleanup is underway. There’s a mess on the floor–the result of a strange break-in police say by 19-year-old Seth Jacob Beckman.
Saturday night, witnesses first reported an aggressive Beckman tearing up the inside of a 7-Eleven.
“The guy was just going nuts. He was yelling random vulgar things,” a man said.
As Beckman left the 7-Eleven, that’s when witnesses say they saw him assault a teenager.
“This guy came out of the 7-Eleven like a wild man and started pounding on him. He was dropping the ‘F-bomb’ and every other word you can think of,” said Edward Castronova, Sharon’s Shaved Ice. “The kid’s face was really pummeled when I talked to him. It was all swollen and beat up. And he said, ‘I was just standing there and the next thing I know this guy comes across the street and was beating the hell out of me.’”
After the attack, Beckman apparently went to McDonald’s and then to a nearby BP gas station. That’s when Beckman apparently kicked in the doors to the snowball stand.
While he was inside making a mess, deputies arrived on the scene.
“The police came with their guns drawn and asked him to come out. And that’s when the guy came out like a raving maniac and attacked,” Castronova said. “Charged right at the police officer. And he had to shoot him to defend himself.”
Beckman was flown to Shock Trauma, but pronounced dead. The sheriff’s office is promising a full investigation.
Detectives are now looking for surveillance video from nearby businesses.
“Not only to identify what happened between the officer and the suspect in this case, but also film that would show us the suspect’s behavior prior to the shooting,” said Edward Hopkins, Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Witnesses say it appeared Beckman may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. His body has been sent to the medical examiner’s office to determine if that was the case.
The deputy who pulled the trigger was a two-year veteran of the Harford County Sheriff’s Department. He has been placed on routine administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.