UPDATE April 26, 2021: 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 4/13/2021 @ 4 p.m: (LEONARDTOWN, MD) – 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 witnesses 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.


UPDATE 4/13/2021 @ 9:10 p.m. via Maryland State Police: (LEONARDTOWN, MD) – 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, Md. 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. today, 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.

The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit is on the scene and is conducting a criminal investigation. This is procedure in all trooper-involved shootings. Investigators are continuing to interview witnesses at this time.

Maryland State Police crime scene technicians responded and are processing the scene. A gun was recovered at the scene. It has been determined to be an airsoft gun that is a close representation of an actual handgun. A knife was also recovered at the scene. An autopsy of the deceased will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.

The trooper involved was not injured. He has been placed on administrative leave pending the ongoing investigation. This is procedure in trooper-involved shootings.

Upon completion of the criminal investigation, it will be presented to the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for review. The St. Mary’s County deputy state’s attorney responded to the scene and has been briefed by investigators

In addition, the Maryland State Police Internal Affairs Division will be conducting an administrative investigation. This is also procedure.

The investigation is continuing.


UPDATE 4:00 p.m. From the Maryland State Police-Leonardtown Barrack– A Maryland state trooper from the Leonardtown Barrack has been involved in a shooting after responding to a call for an individual who was possibly armed with a gun. The incident occurred not far from the Leonardtown Barrack. We have no additional details at this time.


UPDATE @ 1:58 p.m.: The Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department posted on their Facebook page that they are currently operating on the scene of an officer-involved shooting. There are no additional details at this time.


Leonardtown, MD-At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, EMS units were requested to the 23000 block of Hollywood Road in Leonardtown, MD for a victim suffering from a gunshot wound.

At this time the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office states that Hollywood Road near the Maryland State Police Barracks is closed. There is a heavy police presence at this time.

This is a developing story….


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply