- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a California man Saturday while responding to a report of a man yelling and screaming in a Wildewood condominium parking lot, according to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.
Cpl. Michael George, assigned to the special operations division of the sheriff’s office, responded to Sugar Maple Court in California at approximately 1:56 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office.
Once there, George and Cpl. William Rishel, who arrived separately, were confronted by Stephen Robert Wycoff, 39, outside the home in an entranceway shared by other condominiums, according to Sheriff Tim Cameron.
Cameron (R) said Wycoff attacked the deputies and that during the struggle George discharged his firearm, fatally wounding Wycoff. Cameron would not comment Tuesday on whether Wycoff, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had any weapon.
A neighbor at the Wildewood condominium complex said Tuesday outside near where the incident occurred that Wycoff had moved to St. Mary’s County from Colorado about six to eight months ago and lived in the condo with his father.
“His dad was real nice,” the neighbor said, adding that he would say hello to the two but did not know them well.
Detectives from the St. Mary’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations are conducting a criminal investigation at the same time that the sheriff’s office of professional responsibilities conducts an administrative investigation, Cameron said. Once those investigations are concluded, the state’s attorney’s office will conduct an independent review, he said.
“It’s hard to put a time frame on it,” Cameron said of the length of the investigations. “I want to be as accurate and thorough as possible.”
Cameron said a neighbor called 911 in the early morning hours Saturday to report a person causing a disturbance, including screaming and yelling, in the parking lot of the condominiums.
Deputies George and Rishel, who were both on duty and in uniform, responded to the call and the confrontation with Wycoff occurred, Cameron said.
He said the man’s father was inside of the condominium during the incident.
The sheriff would not comment on specifics of the struggle between the two deputies and Wycoff or say how many shots were fired, citing the ongoing investigations.
Cameron said no other deputies arrived until after the shooting.
George, a nine-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, and Rishel, who has been with the department since 2004, were both transported to a local hospital where they were treated and released. The sheriff’s office would not comment on the nature of the deputies’ injuries.
Both officers have been put on administrative leave, as is routine after such an incident, Cameron said.
The sheriff said Wycoff’s body has been taken to the state medical examiners office for a postmortem exam, where toxicology and other forensic evidence would be revealed. He expected to release a public statement after the investigations are completed.