UPDATE 3: Almost exactly one year to the day after being injured, Officer Hays has returned to workOfficer Hays has returned to work.
UPDATE 2: From the Baltimore County Police Department: “Four officers discharged their weapons, including Officer Hays. She was struck by a round from one of the four.”
UPDATE: NottinghamMD.com has obtained the following update from the Baltimore County Police Department: “(Officer Hays) was most likely struck by another officer’s bullet but a lengthy forensic examination will be required to confirm that.”
Original story below…
PARKVILLE, MD – The Baltimore County Police Department has identified the officer shot during Thursday’s officer-involved shooting in Parkville as Police Officer First Class Tabitha Hays, a 13 ½ year veteran of the force with one prior police-involved shooting in 2008, currently assigned to the Parkville Precinct. Officer Hays remains in stable condition at R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma after suffering a gunshot wound to the upper body.
Officer Hayes is the daughter of Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.
The deceased suspect in this shooting has been identified as Robert Uhl Johnson, 76, of the 3000-block of Linwood Avenue (21234), where police responded to a call for a subject with a gun at just after 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
A review of the body-worn camera footage and additional evidence indicates that Johnson picked up a firearm, did not follow officers’ commands to put down the weapon, and pointed the gun at the officers, causing the officers to fire upon the suspect.
Police responded to the suspect’s home in the 3000-block of Linwood Avenue after Johnson called 9-1-1 and stated that there was an individual waving a gun at him inside his home. The suspect, Johnson, hung up on the 9-1-1 operator when she attempted to gather additional information. Multiple attempts were made to contact the caller but he did not answer the phone.
Officers approached the suspect’s home and saw him inside, seated in a chair facing the front door. One officer initiated conversation with the suspect, who refused to get up from the chair or exit the home. Johnson told the officer that he called 9-1-1 and that there was no one else inside the home. Officers further investigated by entering the house and directing Johnson to keep his hands up. As the officers entered the home, Johnson lowered his right hand down to his thigh and picked up a handgun, pointed it at the officers, and aid, “I’m sorry I have to do this.” Four officers fired their service weapons in response.
During the subsequent investigation, it was determined that Johnson’s gun was not loaded. They also discovered that Johnson left his will and last requests for burial out for officers to find.
Officer Tabitha Hays and three other responding officers fired their service weapons at the suspect. Those officers are currently on routine administrative leave and are identified as the following:
Police Officer First Class J. Hummel, an 18-year veteran with no prior police-involved shootings.
Police Officer First Class A. Burns, a 17 ½-year veteran with no prior police-involved shootings.
Police Officer First Class J. Deford, a 10 ½-year veteran with no prior police-involved shootings.
The Baltimore County Police Homicide Unit will complete their investigation and submit the case to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.