Trooper involved in fatal shooting in Wicomico County

According to police, an off-duty Maryland state trooper working security interrupted an apparent shootout between two men.

Police say one is believed to have just shot the other on the parking lot of a Wicomico County restaurant early Saturday morning, July 9, 2017.  

The two deceased are 27-year-old Michael T. Ward, Jr., and 21-year-old Jaquan M. Griffin, both from Salisbury.   

According to the investigation by the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, around 2:00 a.m., two Maryland state troopers were off-duty and working security at a 24-hr. restaurant in the 400-block Punkin Court, Salisbury. 

One of the troopers noticed a large crowd outside of the parking lot. He was calling the Salisbury Police Department to report the crowd when multiple shots were fired on the lot.

After hearing the shots, police report the second trooper came out and approached the east end of the parking lot on the side nearest the restaurant. 

We are told the investigation indicates the trooper saw a man, later identified as Ward, firing a handgun. The trooper engaged him and Ward turned in his direction, firing at the trooper as he walked toward him.  

According to police, in fear for his life, the trooper fired at Ward. Moments later, a man later identified as Griffin, staggered into the restaurant from the parking lot and collapsed on the floor and two friends took him in their car to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Neither trooper on the parking lot was injured.  No one else on the parking lot reported being injured. 

At this time, Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators believe the initial shots on the parking lot occurred when Ward was shooting at Griffin, who may have returned fire.  A semi-automatic handgun was recovered beside Ward.  A second semi-automatic handgun was found in the parking lot in the area Griffin was believed to have been. 

It is unknown whether Ward was fatally wounded by the trooper or Griffin. Police believe Griffin was struck by rounds fired by Ward. The bodies of both Ward and Griffin will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsies. 

The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit is continuing the investigation. 

Interviews are being conducted and security camera footage from the restaurant and a nearby hotel is being reviewed.  

The trooper who fired his Department-issued Glock .40 caliber pistol is a seven-year veteran of the Maryland State Police. He has been placed on administrative leave, which is routine whenever a trooper is involved in a shooting. 

The Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Unit is conducting an investigation into the trooper-involved shooting. This investigation is conducted whenever a trooper is involved in a deadly force shooting. 

Categories: Local News, Maryland