A man being pursued by police in a wooded area in northwestern Baltimore County apparently shot and killed himself yesterday, and authorities were attempting to confirm whether he was the man accused of burning down his home last week.
County police and officers from the state Department of Natural Resources cornered the man about 3 p.m. in a remote section of Soldiers Delight state park, and the man retreated to a hole he had dug near some trees, said Officer Shawn Vinson, a county police spokesman. Seconds later, Vinson said, the man shot himself in the head and died.
"Officers waited a few minutes and carefully approached the hole and found the man dead of a single gunshot," Vinson said.
Vinson said the hole was at the bottom of a culvert. Police found several articles of clothing in and near the hole. Vinson would not give any details about any gun found near the man.
Since Feb. 25, police have been scouring wooded areas near Randallstown for William E. Tinkler, 62, who has been charged with setting his house on fire. That dwelling - one in which he was raised - was burned to the ground, as were two outbuildings.
The house was destroyed hours before Tinkler was to have been evicted. Police said Tinkler lost his 1.22-acre property in the 10400 block of Lyons Mill Road last summer after failing to pay $5,579 in taxes.
Initially, firefighters feared that Tinkler had died in the blaze. But when they found no trace of the man or his two cats, they began searching for him. Later, he was charged in a warrant with first-degree arson.
After the fire and his disappearance, a family member and several neighbors in his rural community described Tinkler as an introvert who worked at odd jobs over the years.