Damage to the door of a Howard Transit bus allegedly caused by… (Staff photo by Luke Lavoie )
The man shot by Howard County Police inside of BJ's Wholesale Club in Columbia earlier this month has been charged with assault, theft and reckless endangerment as he recovers at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Howard Carvel Smith, 33, of the 5500 block of Harpers Farm Road in Columbia, was shot once by a police officer in the store's Tire Center after he refused to drop a knife he pulled on a store loss prevention officer, according to the charging documents.
On July 20, Smith was upgraded from critical to fair condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.
On July 16, police charged Smith with first- and second-degree assault, theft, destruction of property and reckless endangerment in connection with the July 10 incident.
According to the documents, Smith entered the BJ's, located in the 9100 block of Snowden River Parkway, at 11:05 a.m. and was observed stealing a pair of shorts by loss prevention officers. When Smith was approached by the officers he attempted to flee, but tripped and was apprehended. While being processed in the loss prevention office, Smith pulled a folding knife on one of the officers and threatened his life, according to the documents.
Smith allegedly said his brother had a gun and "we'll take care of you," according to the documents.
The documents state the loss prevention officer feared for his life and allowed Smith out of the office. Once outside the office, Smith picked up a large wood stick and began swinging it, with the knife still in hand, while backing out the front door of the club, the documents state.
Smith then crossed a street and attempted to get on to a Green First Transit bus parked near the BJ's, but the bus driver would not let him on. Smith tried to break the glass door with his shoulder, cracking the glass causing damages in excess of $1,500, according to the documents.
Smith then went back across the street and into the Tire Center, which has a separate entrance. Inside the Tire Center, Smith was confronted by a uniformed police officer who instructed him several times to drop the knife and stick, according to the documents.
Smith allegedly ignored the commands and made several comments that he was not returning to jail, according to the documents, before being shot by the officer.
Police said, although there were civilians in the Tire Center, Smith did not threaten them or make an aggressive move toward the police officer.
The officer who shot Smith was identified as Pfc. David Sharpe, an eight-year veteran of the police force assigned to the southern district patrol. He has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure while an investigation is conducted, police said.
According to the Howard County Sheriff's Office a warrant was out for Smith's arrest during the time of the incident relating to an Aug. 2012 assault case. The warrant, which was issued on May 2, was for failing to appear in court.