White Marsh police officer commits suicide in Bel Air home

Baltimore County Police DepartmentA police officer assigned to the White Marsh Precinct is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound that occurred in a residence located in the 2000 block of Stratton Court in Bel Air.

At about 1:30 a.m., on Monday, August 29, deputies assigned to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched for a report of a suicidal man. Upon arriving at the scene, deputies unsuccessfully attempted to make contact with the subject, identified as James Ward.

Police established a perimeter and moved to safeguard nearby residents. Members of the Special Response Team, with assistance from the Crisis Negotiation Team, attempted to engage in negotiations with Ward.

After several hours of failed attempts to contact Ward, members of the Special Response Team entered the residence and found Ward dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. No deputies fired any shots during the incident. No deputies, or community members, were injured during the incident.

This wasn’t Ward’s first barricade situation.  On April 21, 2016, Ward was injured during a barricade incident at the same location when Harford County Sheriff’s Office Deputies shot him. During that incident, Ward was shooting in the direction of officers.

The Baltimore County Police Department has released the following statement:

The person involved in the barricade situation in the 2000 block of Stratton Court in Harford County this morning has been identified as Officer First Class James L. Ward, a Baltimore County Police Officer.

Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson stated “I was greatly saddened to hear about one of our officers taking his own life after being involved in a barricade situation for the second time. It is fortunate that no one else was hurt.”

Officer First Class James L. Ward is a 19-year-veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department assigned to Precinct 9/White Marsh. At the time of this incident, he was suspended without pay in connection to an April barricade incident at the same location.

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