A Harford County man is accused of shooting and killing a dog, wounding a neighbor and firing hundreds of rounds at officers who were responding to a domestic incident. When officers arrived at his home, authorities said he ambushed deputies.
A 911 caller reported a man may have shot a dog in the backyard in the 4500 block of Oak Ridge Drive at 6:44 p.m. Tuesday, according to call logs from the Harford County Sheriff's Office. The caller was a woman who had been living at the home, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said.
As patrol officers approached, Gahler said deputies were fired upon.
Over the course of about a 90-minute standoff, authorities said the resident fired nearly 200 rounds of ammunition from a rifle and handgun, hitting a patrol vehicle multiple times. No deputies were injured, but a bystander was hurt, officials said.
A 59-year-old neighbor who had been moving his trash cans was shot twice in the lower body, according to authorities. SWAT members rescued him in an armored vehicle, and he was taken to York Hospital in Pennsylvania by the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company. He was treated and released soon after, according to the sheriff's office.
Benjamin Thomas Murdy, 43, of the 4500 block of Oak Ridge Drive in Street, is charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, aggravated animal cruelty, animal cruelty and malicious destruction of property greater than $1,000, according to court records. Authorities said more charges may be filed.
Murdy called the Harford County 911 center himself around 8:30 p.m. to say he wanted to surrender, according to authorities. Officials said he spoke with crisis negotiators and came out of the home without further incident.
He had two firearms legally in his possession, and they were removed temporarily from the house because of a protective order, according to the sheriff. In accordance with the process, Gahler said the weapons had been returned because no criminal charges resulted in that case.
"He's been the subject of a couple of protective orders from a previous relationship and I think the current one," Gahler said. "He has made statements in there that he would take out police if they ever came to the house. Making a statement you know is not a crime, so he's never crossed that line." When Murdy was shooting, Gahler said officers were not sure where he was in the house, so they did not return fire. Not a single law enforcement officer fired a weapon, he said.
During the ambush, aid came from multiple jurisdictions, including the Baltimore County Police Department, Maryland State Police, Aberdeen Proving Ground Police, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police, Havre de Grace Police Department and Aberdeen Police Department.
Murdy is being held at the Harford County Detention Center without bail. He is slated to appear for a bail review hearing at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Harford County District Court.
"None of these [events] are ever going to make sense," Gahler said of a motive. "When people do such nonsensical things, such outlandish criminal acts, they're never going to make sense to the majority of us who just don't live our lives this way."