Salisbury man threatening suicide shot by troopers

SALISBURY — Maryland State Police are investigating a trooper-involved shooting that occurred Wednesday morning after troopers were called to the home of an armed man allegedly threatening suicide.

The man is identified as Rick Howell, 59, of the 27000-block of Sunbury Court, Salisbury. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by emergency medical services personnel.

The investigation is ongoing and complete details are not known at this time, a statement from the State Police said. Information is preliminary and could change as the investigation progresses.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, troopers from the Salisbury Barrack were dispatched to the above address after an emergency call was received reporting a suicidal person. The preliminary investigation indicates three uniformed state troopers found Howell in the back yard of his home and saw he was armed with a handgun.

According to the investigation, troopers repeatedly ordered the man to drop his weapon. They attempted to engage him in a dialogue and told him he did not have to do this, the statement said. The preliminary investigation indicates that during the confrontation, three troopers fired their weapons.

Medical response was immediately called for and care was provided to the man. Paramedics who arrived on the scene pronounced the man deceased.

State Police investigators have interviewed two family members at the home who said they had contact with the man before troopers were called and he was threatening suicide. Neither those individuals or a child inside the home were injured. No troopers were injured in the incident.

Members of the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit are conducting a criminal investigation, as is procedure in a trooper-involved shooting. Investigators are currently obtaining a search warrant for the residence and will be processing the scene throughout the afternoon with the assistance of State Police crime scene technicians.

Upon completion of the investigation, it will be provided to the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office for review. The Wicomico County State’s Attorney responded to the scene today and was briefed by investigators.

Investigators from the Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Division responded to the scene. As is procedure in a trooper-involved shooting, an investigation will be conducted by the Internal Affairs Division.

The three troopers involved have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues. This is procedure whenever a trooper is involved in a shooting.

Additional assistance is being provided by the Maryland State Police Crisis Intervention Team, troopers from the Salisbury Barrack and the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and investigators from the Criminal Enforcement Division. The investigation is continuing.