ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — Tense moments in Aberdeen after police say a suspect they thought was armed with a knife charged at officers, forcing one of them to fire shots.
Hours after the initial press conference, police identified the suspect as 23-year-old Tyler Winkler and said he was actually holding a plastic comb, not a knife, that he was using as a “shank.” They say he was holding the bristled end in his hand and lunged at officers with the sharp, pointed end.
Cell phone video obtained by WJZ shows Aberdeen police standing over Winkler moments after one officer shot him multiple times.
“We gave firm verbal commands and tried to exhaust all means to diffuse the situation without lethal confrontation,” Lt. Reiber said.
The call came in around 10:30 a.m. Friday morning along the 100 block of Hamilton Place at the Affinity Old Post apartment complex for a person acting erratically.
“The individual walked into the property management office and directed a threat to kill an employee,” Lt. Reiber said.
Shortly after, they say Winkler got into an argument back outside with a resident. When officers arrived, they encountered the 23-year-old and tried to de-escalate the situation verbally but say the suspect refused to comply, eventually forcing them to use a taser, which was unsuccessful.
“The individual charged the officer and to the point where the officer felt fear for his life, and fired shots at the individual,” Lt. Reiber said.
Alexis Wall witnessed the tense moments.
“He was shot on the side, his shoulder, he tried to get up a few times, but he just fell back to the ground,” Wall said.
Winkler was rushed to shock trauma and underwent multiple surgeries. At last check, he remained in stable condition.
Those who know the 23-year-old said he suffers from schizophrenia and said the situation should’ve been handled differently.
“There’s a hundred different ways this could’ve went and that was not one of them, shooting him was not one of them,” a neighbor said.
Police have identified the officer involved in the shooting as 11-year veteran Corporal James Evans.
There’s been no confirmation on how many shots were fired, as well.
Officers say they immediately provided medical attention to Winkler. The Aberdeen Police Department is not equipped with body cameras.