The Maryland State Police released the name of the trooper who shot a Leonardtown teenager two weeks ago, and detectives from the homicide unit are continuing their investigation, the agency said Monday.
Trooper Joseph Azzari is on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation, which the agency said in a news release is “procedure in a trooper-involved shooting.” The State Police Internal Affairs Division is also conducting an administrative investigation, which it said is also standard practice.
“Upon completion of the criminal investigation, it will be presented to the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for review,” the agency said in a statement.
Peyton Alexander Ham, 16, was shot and killed in the driveway of his family’s home April 13. The state police said at the time that Ham pointed an airsoft replica gun and wielded a knife at a trooper who responded to a pair of 911 calls about a possibly armed person acting suspiciously.
The killing happened about 1:30 p.m. on the family’s property next to the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections, in the 23000 block of Hollywood Road, less than a block from the State Police Leonardtown Barrack.
Neighbors said at the time they were shocked by the number of shots fired, and that the trooper’s bullets seemingly veered off course. One neighbor across the street said at least four bullets wound up in her garage.
Azzari is assigned to the Leonardtown Barrack as a road patrol trooper, the agency, and has been a state trooper for two years and seven months. He made $54,000 in salary and overtime in 2020, according to a state database.