NORTHEAST, Md. (WJZ) — An autopsy will help determine whether a Maryland State Trooper fired the bullet that killed 24-year-old Jonathan Balchunas at his apartment in Cecil County Sunday.
Balchunasâ body is now at the state medical examinerâs office in Baltimore.READ MORE: Maryland Zoo Reopens Oldest Section Of Facility As Walking Path
Police said the incident began when Balchunasâ father called 911 just after 3:30 in the afternoon and said the two had been arguing most of the day and his son was armed.
Man who died was found with a 9mm handgun and laser sight pointed toward door where police were entering according to Maryland State Police; son and father arguing; police say deceased man threatened to kill officers according to his father. @wjz
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) July 12, 2021
âHe told police he watched his son load a 9mm firearm. His son then reportedly placed the barrel of the gun to his fatherâs head, telling him, âIf the cops come, he is going to kill them too,ââ said Col. Jerry Jones, the superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
Two state troopers and a Cecil County sheriffâs deputy arrived on the scene.
âUpon arrival, the two troopers along with the sheriffâs deputy approached the front door to the residence where they could hear arguing. During the argument, they heard someone say, âHe has a gun,ââ Col. Jones said.
Police said they went inside the apartment through the unlocked front door when Balchunas opened fire on them.
âIn fear for his life and for the lives of the other police officers, one of the troopers returned fire as the officers retreated to the landing outside of the apartment to take cover. Once they retreated, it was discovered the sheriffâs deputy had been shot,â Col. Jones said.
âAfter the gunfire ceased, members of the Cecil County Special Response Team responded and cleared the residence. They located the suspect deceased in the kitchen with a 9mm firearm in close proximity with the red dot laser of the suspectâs firearm aimed at the front door.â
Balchunas was pronounced dead at the scene. Cecil County Senior Deputy Shumaker, a six-year veteran of the department, was rushed to Christiana Hospital in Delaware.READ MORE: 'Justice Has Been Served,' Hogan Says Of Capital Gazette Shooter's Sentence
âFortunately for us, he was treated and released last night. He was treated for a gunshot wound to the left arm,â Sheriff Scott Adams said.
Tom Sapanaro lives in the next building and said he got an email from the Chesapeake Ridge apartment complex saying there was a police presence, warning people to stay inside. âPolice had the complex blocked off, and thatâs when another neighbor said there was a shootout,â Saparano told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. âIt was concerning.â
One of Balchunasâ family members declined to comment. Many in the community were stunned that this would happen.
A family acquaintance told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren she saw Balchunasâ father about five hours after the shootout. âHe said, âI canât talk. My son was just shot and killed.â I gave him a hug and told him I was very sorry. Heâs a very nice man and I thought they had a very good relationship.â
The sonâs boss shared a picture and said he was âvery respectfulâ at work.
Police said they found a loaded 9mm firearm near the victim âwith the red dot laser of the suspectâs firearm aimed at the front door.â State police said there were âmultipleâ other guns in the apartment.
âItâs surprising. Thatâs probably the second time Iâve ever seen police in the area. Itâs always been a nice, quiet place to live,â neighbor Sapranao said.
The trooper who fired his service weapon is on routine administrative leave. The other responding trooper is on administrative duties.
Maryland State Police are investigating, and that investigation will be turned over to the Cecil County Stateâs Attorney, who responded to the scene yesterday.
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