Anne Arundel Police Shoot Man, 42

April 18, 2009|By Julie Scharper | Julie Scharper,julie.scharper@baltsun.com

The couple had planned to spend the warm spring day in Pennsylvania, marching and camping with other Civil War re-enactors. Becky Waugh packed the pickup with their costumes and gear.

But her boyfriend - owner, she said, of an antique but functional muzzleloading rifle - apparently grew angry. Just after noon Friday, she called 911 to say that he had threatened to "blow her head off," touching off events that ended with police shooting and critically wounding the Anne Arundel County man.

From the moment Rickey Lee Kitzmiller, 42, a plumber and father of three, woke up Friday, he was in a strange state, Waugh said. "When I looked at him, there was nothing. It was just pure anger," she said.

Cursing, Kitzmiller grabbed from the pickup a cooler of beef stew that Waugh had made for the re-enactment and hurled it at the house, she said. He smashed a Confederate statue into her new flat-panel TV and tossed the coffee table off the porch, she said.

Then the man sat down on the sofa with his rifle between his knees. "He started ripping these 'paper ladies' " - packets of gunpowder - "open with his teeth and sticking them in there," Waugh said. "I knew he was going to have to ram them down the barrel before he could shoot it, so I ran out of the house."

Waugh ran to an aunt's home - several relatives live on the quiet stretch of Quarterfield Road in Severn - and watched him stalk into the woods with the rifle and a blank look on his face, she said. He fired the gun and came back to the house laughing, Waugh said.

Soon after, Kitzmiller's mother arrived at the house. Waugh called police, telling the 911 operator that Kitzmiller had threatened her and had assaulted his mother.

Waugh said that, after she called 911, Kitzmiller said: "I'm going down in a blaze of glory."

When Anne Arundel County police officers arrived, they looked through a window and saw Kitzmiller sitting in a chair with a "long gun," police said. According to police, Kitzmiller refused several orders to drop the weapon and instead aimed it at an officer. The officer fired several rounds, and the wounded Kitzmiller was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The officer, a 13-year veteran of the force, has been placed on administrative leave in accordance with department protocol, police said. His name was not released Friday.

Kitzmiller had been depressed recently over the death of a friend from a drug overdose and was dreading a coming court date over child-support payments, Waugh said.

Last month, Kitzmiller was given probation before judgment by an Anne Arundel County District Court judge on assault charges stemming from a November fight with Waugh. According to charging documents, when police arrived at the couple's home that day, Waugh had bruises and scratches on her arm and said that Kitzmiller "beat her up" and "dragged her" onto the porch.

Kitzmiller's criminal record includes convictions for battery, marijuana possession, resisting arrest and malicious destruction of property, records show.

But Kitzmiller is "such a good man" when he isn't drinking, Waugh said of her boyfriend of three years. She said that she probably should have ended the relationship before but that she loved him. She had never been really afraid of him before Friday, she said.

Sitting at her mother's kitchen table, her eyes brimming with tears, Waugh said, "If I have ever seen the devil, it was today."

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