County police investigating fatal shooting of man by officer 2 officers went to home in Glen Burnie after receiving a 911 phone call

August 19, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

An article in yesterday's Maryland/Anne Arundel section stated that the county Police Department's internal investigation of a fatal shooting in Glen Burnie Monday night would take three days. The investigation will take at least two months. The officer involved in the shooting will be on administrative duty for three days.

The Sun regrets the error.

Anne Arundel County police are investigating the actions of a Northern District officer who fatally shot a Glen Burnie man at his home Monday night while intervening in a domestic dispute, police said.

Bryan Steven Howser, 23, of the 1500 block of Ingalls Road was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12: 52 a.m. yesterday, police said. His girlfriend, Laura Lynn Hamlett, 22, who lives at the same address, and their 1-year-old son were unhurt, police said.


Officer Peter Scarpetta fired three shots at Howser about 10: 15 p.m. and struck him twice in the chest. Scarpetta was placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation, said Officer Deberah Mabe, police spokeswoman. She would not give Scarpetta's age but said he has been an officer for six years.

"We don't like [police shootings] to occur, believe me," Mabe said. "This is a tragedy. But domestic violence is really getting bad. It really is."

She said Monday's police shooting was the second this year in the county. In a February incident, the suspect was not killed, Mabe said. An internal investigation is departmental procedure after any shooting that involves officers, she said.

Police said Scarpetta and Officer Connie Butkus responded to a 911 call at the home about 10: 05 p.m. The officers arrived to hear Hamlett screaming for the officers to help her, police said.

When the officers entered the house, they found Howser, Hamlett and their son in the dining area, police said. Hamlett was holding the baby and was backed up against a wall, while Howser was sitting in a chair blocking her movement, police said. They said the house appeared to have been ransacked, with many things broken and lying on the floor.

When the officers came between Hamlett and Howser and told the man they were going to handcuff him, he broke away, ran to the kitchen and returned with a long kitchen knife that he brandished at all of them "in a threatening manner," police said.

Scarpetta fired his service weapon three times, police said.

Mabe said police had received numerous calls about domestic disputes in the home in the past year, but no one had been charged. She said the internal investigation could take three days, "but it depends on the circumstances."

Hamlett could not be reached for comment.

Doug Jenkins, who lives next door, said Hamlett and Howser had lived there about a year and had fights about twice a week.

"There would be banging on the walls, screaming, thumps It was so loud I could hear it from my back yard," Jenkins said. "I remember once she said to me that he always spent too much time with his friends partying and not spending enough time with the family."

He said Hamlett was a saleswoman for a long-distance phone carrier, and Howser was a landscaper who aspired to be a World Wrestling Federation wrestler.

Jenkins said he saw Hamlett when she ran out of the house after the shooting.

"She was holding her ears, saying they hurt because of the gunshots and saying, 'Oh my God, I can't believe they shot him,' " Jenkins said. "She said the officer had tried to put handcuffs on [Howser], but that didn't work. Then he tried to Mace him, but that had no effect, and then [Howser] said, 'Before you take me out of here, I'm going to kill this [woman],' and that's when he shot him. She didn't mention a knife."

Jenkins said Hamlett and Howser had two children together and lived with a daughter Hamlett had from a previous relationship. He said that Hamlett had told him about a month ago that she had a restraining order against Howser but that he came around occasionally.

"The feeling in the neighborhood is, it's about time that it's all over with," Jenkins said."He was definitely out of control with her."

Pub Date: 8/19/98

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