LITTLE ORLEANS, Md. (AP) — Maryland State Police say a man who threatened his wife with a gun and then wounded two troopers during a standoff on Friday wasn’t shot until he finally came out of his burning house and ignored commands to stop pointing his weapon at officers.
The two state troopers were flown about 120 miles (193 kilometers) to a trauma center in Baltimore, where they were treated for leg wounds and released, while William Charles Mackenzie, 66, was pronounced dead at a hospital in western Maryland.
The confrontation began late Thursday night. The man’s wife told officers that they had been arguing when he drew a gun and threatened her, saying “this ends now.” They struggled and fell and the gun went off, she said after escaping to a neighbor’s house.
The police response was large, with tactical units of camouflaged and well-armed troopers surrounding the home. The troopers tried to communicate with Mackenzie using a loudspeaker from an armored vehicle, but they said he refused to surrender.
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“State police were negotiating with him throughout this whole process to try to end this situation as peacefully as possible,” said Ron Snyder, a state police spokesman.
Mazkenzie fired multiple shots from a bedroom window at about 7:30 a.m. Friday, hitting two troopers who were near the perimeter, but officers did not return fire, state police said.
Just after 8:30 a.m., Mackenzie came out of the house, which appeared to be ablaze, and pointed a gun toward police, ignoring commands to drop the weapon. Only then did officers shoot the man, who was pronounced dead at Washington County Regional Medical Center, state police said.
Fire personnel and troopers put out the fire, which police believe Mackenzie started.
Mackenzie had previous legal troubles. In 2014, he was charged with manufacture of a controlled dangerous substance, conspiracy to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance and possession of marijuana. The charges were put on hold indefinitely and no guilty verdict was entered.
Mackenzie’s home in Baltimore was in foreclosure proceedings at one point, but he is still listed on state property records as the owner.
Online court records show that Mackenzie accused his wife, Linda Mackenzie, of stealing from him in 2015. She was charged with theft of $10,000 to under $100,000, 3rd-degree burglary and 4th-degree burglary of a dwelling. Court records show prosecutors declined to move forward with the case.
Snyder said the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit is investigating, and will provide its conclusions to the Allegany County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.
Information from: Cumberland (Md.) Times-News, http://www.times-news.com/timesnew.html