- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
St. Mary’s sheriff’s detectives who found a wanted man in the basement of a Leonardtown area home last Friday pleaded with him to drop a .22-caliber rifle, authorities report, before he shot himself in the head.
Kenneth Michael Woodburn, 24, died at the scene of his injury, despite efforts by the four officers to try to save him as an ambulance crew responded, according to a senior detective.
“He was a suspect in several burglaries we were investigating,” sheriff’s Capt. Terry Black said this week. In addition, a judge had issued a bench warrant in 2012 for Woodburn’s arrest on a charge of violating his probation, online court records state, from his guilty plea to a burglary offense.
Detectives went to two locations Friday to find Woodburn, the captain said, including the Hampton Road address off Route 244 where he had spent the night. The home’s owner opened the door to the investigators when they arrived shortly before noon, and directed them to go to the basement.
Woodburn “had the gun in his hand already,” Black said. “As soon as they saw him with the gun, they drew their weapons. He was told, ‘Don’t do that, put the gun down.’”
The captain said that Woodburn replied, “Tell my family I love them,” before firing the rifle.
Outside his family’s home on Monday morning, Woodburn’s father offered no criticism of the police officers’ conduct, and declined further comment.
The sheriff’s captain said that Woodburn “immediately dropped to the floor” after the shooting, and that the detectives began their efforts to save his life, through chest compressions, as they determined that he still had a pulse. Black said that no police gunshots were fired during the confrontation, which occurred after they entered an exterior door to the basement that also serves as a below-ground level garage.
Black said the four officers were back on duty this week.