A Maryland state trooper is being investigated in an officer-involved shooting that killed a 16-year-old.

Police confirmed they received two calls Tuesday about a suspicious man holding what appeared to be a gun. A uniformed trooper then confronted the male teen, who appeared to have a gun and a knife.

Police said a witness informed them that the teen adopted what appeared to be a shooting stance and pointed a gun at the trooper. A second witness told investigators that after the trooper fired a shot, wounding the teen, the person pulled out a knife and tried to get up. The trooper ordered the teen to drop the knife before firing for a second time.


Aid was rendered by authorities to the teen, identified as Peyton Ham, though he later died at an area hospital.

The gun recovered at the scene was determined to be an airsoft gun that is “a close representation of an actual handgun,” police said.

The trooper, a two-year, seven-month veteran of the state police, was not injured and is on administrative leave pending an investigation. The state police’s homicide unit is launching a criminal investigation, per procedure for all trooper-involved shootings.

“Any loss of life is a tragedy; this especially is a tragedy,” Maryland State Police Superintendent Jerry Jones said. “We take these very seriously. I certainly empathize with the family of this young man and what they’re feeling right now. I can’t even comprehend how sad this has got to be, and tragic, and we feel that. The investigators feel that.”