UPDATE: State Police Identify Trooper Involved in Shooting That Killed Teenager in Leonardtown

April 26, 2021

UPDATE 4/26/2021 @ 5:40 p.m.: Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators are continuing an investigation into a trooper involved shooting that occurred in Leonardtown on April 13, 2021.

The involved trooper is identified as Trooper Joseph Azzari, who is assigned to the Leonardtown Barrack as a road patrol trooper. He has been a Maryland state trooper for two years and seven months.

Trooper Azzari remains on administrative leave pending the results of the ongoing investigation. This is procedure in trooper-involved shootings. The Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Division is conducting an administrative investigation. This is also procedure.

Upon completion of the criminal investigation, it will be presented to the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.

UPDATE 4/14/2021 @ 4:00 p.m.: Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators today continued their investigation into yesterday’s trooper-involved fatal shooting yesterday in St. Mary’s County and have released a photo of the knife and a stock photo of the gun recovered at the scene.

State Police investigators continued to interview individuals, locate additional witness and search for evidence today. Anyone who witnessed the shooting yesterday or who has any information related to this investigation is urged to contact Maryland State Police at the Leonardtown Barrack at 301-475-8955.

Below is a picture of the knife found at the scene and a stock photo of the type of gun believed to have been pointed at the state trooper by the teenager when he confronted the trooper yesterday in a driveway in the 23000-block of Hollywood Road, Leonardtown, Md.

The investigation is continuing.

Stock photo of the air soft pistol recovered at the scene

Stock photo of the air soft pistol recovered at the scene

Knife recovered at scene

Knife recovered at scene

UPDATE 4/13/2021 @ 9:00 p.m.: The Maryland State Police are continuing an investigation into a trooper-involved fatal shooting that occurred this afternoon in St. Mary’s County.

The deceased individual is identified as Peyton Ham, 16, of Leonardtown. He was transported from the scene to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The trooper involved is a uniformed patrol trooper assigned to the Leonardtown Barrack. He has been a Maryland state trooper for two years and seven months.

According to the preliminary investigation, just before 1:30 p.m., two separate 911 calls were received at the Maryland State Police Leonardtown Barrack.

The first call was from a male who gave a phone number instead of an address. He reported to the dispatcher that there was a guy acting suspicious who he thinks has a gun. The dispatcher asked for his location, but the call was disconnected.

Two minutes later, a second 911 call is received from a male who gives a street address in the 23000-block of Hollywood Road, just down the street from the barrack. The caller said a guy was acting suspicious and he thinks he has a gun. He hangs up and does not give a name.

The preliminary investigation indicates that within minutes, a uniformed Maryland state trooper arrived at the location and confronted a male in the driveway. The male, later identified as Peyton Ham, was armed with a gun and a knife.

A witness told investigators they saw the individual in the driveway in what the witness described as a shooting stance, pointing a gun at the trooper. The trooper fired at Ham, wounding him.

A second witness told investigators that after the trooper fired the first time, they saw the male pull out a knife and try to get up. The trooper ordered him to drop the knife, before he fired again.

The trooper reported the shooting and called for EMS. Aid was rendered to Ham by troopers and sheriff’s deputies until EMS arrived.

UPDATE 4/13/2021 @ 7:25 p.m.: The individual shot today in Leonardtown was a 16-year-old male and was pronounced deceased a short time after the shooting. The victim has been identified by MSP as the 16-year-old Peyton Ham. Witnesses said the the juvenile was standing in the drive way in a “shooting stance” pointing the gun at the trooper and after he was shot he reached for a knife and was shot again. The gun the juvenile had in his possession was recovered at the scene and was described as a Airsoft type gun, and not a firearm. The gun was a “firearm handgun replica” and did not have a red tip on the barrel. A knife was also recovered at the scene.

4/13/2021: On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at approximately 1:25 p.m., police responded to the 23000 block of Hollywood Road, for the report of a suspious male possibly armed with a firearm.

A Maryland State Police Trooper from the Leonardtown Barrack arrived on the scene and a short time later, the suspect was struck multiple times when the Trooper fired their agency issued firearm.

Police and emergency medical personnel performed CPR before the male suspect was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.

No other injuries have been reported.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office advised the Hollywood Road between the Maryland State Police Barracks and the SMECO building will have a heavy police presence, and the roadway will be closed.”

Expect the roadway to be closed for an extended period of time.

Updates and details will be provided when they become available.