- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Waldorf man shot by police trying to serve a search warrant on his Lancaster home on the morning of Aug. 9 has been charged with multiple counts of assault for allegedly pointing his gun at the officers.
William Payton Bell, 23, was shot multiple times after he raised an assault rifle in the direction of Charles County sheriff's officers, who were serving the warrant in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service as part of an ongoing mail fraud investigation, according to charging papers.
Officers arrived at Bell's home in the 4600 block of Gadwell Place at 6:39 a.m. to serve the warrant. While members of the sheriff's emergency services team prepared to breach Bell's front door, other officers set up behind the house, the papers state.
Bell walked through the rear door of his house while armed with an assault rifle, which he raised in the direction of nine officers, court records state.
Fearing for their safety and that of the neighborhood, the officers fired at Bell, striking him several times.
An injured Bell went back inside, but then appeared on the second floor of his house, again pointing his rifle at police, from a bedroom window. The officers fired at Bell again, causing him to retreat from the window, the documents state.
A short time later, Bell walked out the front door and was taken by officers to a waiting ambulance. He was then flown by U.S. Park Police medevac helicopter to the trauma unit at Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, where he was listed in stable condition.
The incident spurred police to shut down Lancaster for a period of time, and evacuate several homes.
Bell has been charged with nine counts of first-degree assault and one count of using a firearm in commission of a felony. He was served an arrest warrant Aug. 15, and ordered held without bail Monday.
Staff writer Gretchen Phillips contributed to this report. firstname.lastname@example.org