TEEN TOOK AIM AT TROOPER: Peyton Ham’s shooting stance and aim at a Maryland trooper resulted in the trooper shooting him, Ham advanced with a knife and was shot dead
LEONARDTOWN, MD – Colonel Woodrow Jones, the Superintendent of the Maryland State Police read this statement and took questions in Leonardtown, Md., on April 13, 2021.
Maryland State Police are conducting an investigation into a trooper-involved fatal shooting that occurred on April 13, 2021, in St. Mary’s County.
The deceased individual is identified as Peyton Ham, 16, of Leonardtown, Md. He was transported from the scene to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
The first call was from a male who gave a phone number instead of an address. He reported to the dispatcher that there was a guy acting suspiciously who he thinks has a gun.
The trooper involved is a uniformed patrol trooper assigned to the Leonardtown Barrack. He has been a Maryland state trooper for two years and seven months.
According to the preliminary investigation, just before 1:30 p.m. today, two separate 911 calls were received at the Maryland State Police Leonardtown Barrack. The first call was from a male who gave a phone number instead of an address. He reported to the dispatcher that there was a guy acting suspiciously who he thinks has a gun. The dispatcher asked for his location, but the call was disconnected.
Two minutes later, a second 911 call is received from a male who gives a street address in the 23000-block of Hollywood Road, just down the street from the barrack. The caller said a guy was acting suspicious and he thinks he has a gun. He hangs up and does not give a name.
The preliminary investigation indicates that within minutes, a uniformed Maryland state trooper arrived at the location and confronted a male in the driveway. The male, later identified as Peyton Ham, was armed with a gun and a knife. A witness told investigators they saw the individual in the driveway in what the witness described as a shooting stance, pointing a gun at the trooper. The trooper fired at Ham, wounding him.
A second witness told investigators that after the trooper fired the first time, they saw the male pull out a knife and try to get up. The trooper ordered him to drop the knife, before he fired again.
The trooper reported the shooting and called for EMS. Aid was rendered to Ham by troopers and sheriff’s deputies until EMS arrived.
The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit is on the scene and is conducting a criminal investigation. This is procedure in all trooper-involved shootings. Investigators are continuing to interview witnesses at this time.
Maryland State Police crime scene technicians responded and are processing the scene. A gun was recovered at the scene. It has been determined to be an airsoft gun that is a close representation of an actual handgun. A knife was also recovered at the scene. An autopsy of the deceased will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.
The trooper involved was not injured. He has been placed on administrative leave pending the ongoing investigation. This is procedure in trooper-involved shootings.
Upon completion of the criminal investigation, it will be presented to the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for review. The St. Mary’s County deputy state’s attorney responded to the scene and has been briefed by investigators
In addition, the Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Division will be conducting an administrative investigation.
A statement released by the family of Peyton Ham
This statement provided by Mr. Christopher T. Longmore, attorney for the Boyle family, for distribution on behalf of Peyton Ham’s Family, Michael & Kristee Boyle, (Birthfather Jason Ham Haight)
Peyton Alexander Ham is an incredibly smart, gifted sweet young man. Peyton is an honor student who enjoyed attending Leonardtown High School. Peyton was thrilled in his 8th-grade year to be accepted into the St. Mary’s County Public Schools premier academy, The Global International Studies program, exclusively located at his home high school, Leonardtown High. Peyton is an avid history enthusiast, studying many genres to include European history, ancient monarchies, World Wars 1 & 2 and the rise and fall of the former U.S.S.R. Peyton could best be described as an “Alex P. Keaton” type personality. His love of conservative politics always taking center stage to his lively debates at the family dinner table.
Peyton thrived as a cook, always experimenting with his own twists on recipes he found appealing. Peyton enjoyed being his mother’s sous chef, prep-chopping many scratch ingredients to make various dishes. Peyton loved his family, siblings, cousins very much. Peyton was a baseball enthusiast, brought about by his Grandfathers love of the game. Peyton enjoyed rooting for his hometown team, The Baltimore Orioles, discussing play by play with his Grandad over the phone while watching the game. Peyton was absolutely thrilled to make his school’s “Mock Trial” team, enjoying
being selected as the coveted “Prosecutor” for one of his team’s major cases. Peyton dreamed of attending a 4-year university to obtain an undergraduate degree, and move on to pre-law, with the ultimate dream of being an elected Senator or Delegate, to represent his home state of Maryland.
Our family is absolutely heartbroken and shattered over this sudden, unexpected loss of life of a talented young man, filled with promise. Words cannot express the gratitude our family is feeling with the overwhelming love and support being extended by our friends and family in our amazing community.
|To the Editor |
This letter specifically references the incident that occurred on April 15, 1994. You see I was the driver of the 1965 Plymouth Valiant. Quite frankly, I am very displeased to see that you have brought the incident back up 10 years later and blatantly lied about several facts! Your article was brought to my attention on April 26, 2005, via the Internet.
In your article, it states ” The gun the men were pointing at other motorists…”. Another statement: “… the two young men were taken into custody for questioning and appropriate charges. ” The final statement in your latest article: “The driver is now covered by a State Trooper with a shotgun…”. All of these statements are false!!! First of all, we were never taken into custody away from Rt. 235 nor were we charged! What the hell do charge someone with a fluorescent green squirt gun with? Concealing a deadly weapon? Assault with a deadly weapon? I suppose I could have tried to drown someone while driving down the road! Second of all, we never pointed the squirt gun out of the window at other motorists on Rt. 235. The squirt gun was pointed at a co-worker as I was leaving the parking lot at work. Dave Brewster observed this action and proceeded to contact the Sheriff’s office while traveling down Rt. 235 beside us. Where he called in a false report. To quote the original article ” he observed a man pointing a gun out of the window of his car at a pickup truck…” As I was being stopped on Rt. 235 I knew he was the one who placed the call. When I came to a stop I saw him stop shortly behind the cruiser. As Dfc. Milam was instructing us to exit the vehicle, at least 10 other officers arrived on the scene. Traffic was now being halted Northbound and Southbound. Of course, I was mildly amused to see such a blatant misuse of manpower for a squirt gun. I could understand 1 or 2 other officers backing up Dfc. Milam, but not 10 or more. After we were detained for over an hour they found the squirt gun. If you were a very credible or thorough editor you would have researched your original article and/or have contacted those involved before you presented lies and slanderous statements to the public! I do not appreciate being called a ” moron” for someone else’s ignorance. You are the MORON’S for not being reputable journalists. I always thought that the news was supposed to be Truthful, not stretched, or misconstrued! I think you owe me an apology! I also think you should present a retraction to your current article presenting the truth in this matter. The public has the right to know the truth!! I am a law-abiding citizen who is respected through the community, and have a reputable job. Some citizen’s are a little over zealous in trying to uphold the law. This is no fault of my own. Nor should it be glorified by this RAG!!!
(Editor’s Note: The failure of the reader to provide his full name and phone number or to use his own email address, unless of course, his first name is “Cyndi”, lends little credibility to his silly antics on the highway. Slamming the citizen who called the police as being over-zealous and demanding an apology shows that he has little regard for others and that not too much maturity has taken place. The expression that a photo tells 1,000 words certainly applies here. There is no defamation, as the article never named the “moron”. However, since the reader now raises his hand and says he is the “moron” in the photo, we will just have to take his word for it. The actions of silly people have repercussions for life and sometimes cause life to end. The fact that these file photos tell the story of how police officers go about doing their jobs in the face of danger from the general public is a service to our readers. The point made is that the use of a lookalike gun on the highway is as illegal as the real thing and can be as dangerous. Try going into a bank with your squirt gun and you will be spending the next 20 years in Federal prison. —The two men in these photos, now shown at the ST. MARY’S TODAY Online Edition were Joel Jonathan Strickland and Steven Ray Johnstone. The news article published April 19, 1994, told that the citizen who called police said that the gun appeared to be real and posed a real threat. The article also said that after being questioned the two squirt gun pranksters were released. Strickland and Johnstone admitted that they had taken the squirt guns to work and had played with them all day in their jobs at a local defense contractor. While no charges were made, the police officers responded professionally to what appeared to be a real threat. That makes them top cops and the pranksters morons.)