(RISING SUN, MD) – Troopers responding to a call for an intruder at a Cecil County home early this morning fatally wounded a woman inside the home after she accused them of not being real police officers and pointed what appeared to be a real handgun at them.
The woman is identified as Christine A. Lucas, 45, of the 600-block of Lombard Road, Rising Sun, Md. Despite administration of emergency care by a trooper paramedic and the response of medics, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
The troopers who fired their weapons are identified as Trooper First Class Justin Rann, a four-year veteran assigned to the North East Barrack and Trooper First Class Timothy Graham, a four-year veteran assigned to the Aviation Command. TFC Graham was working road patrol at the North East Barrack during midnight shift because the helicopter section he is assigned to was closed due to poor weather.
The preliminary investigation indicates shortly before 2:00 a.m. today, a 911 call was received at the Cecil County Emergency Operations Center and transferred to the North East Barrack. The female caller said repeatedly that an intruder was in her home. She also said her phone was about to shut off and the call was soon disconnected. Barrack personnel attempted to call the number back, but there was no answer.
Troopers, Cecil County Sheriff’s Office deputies and an officer from the Rising Sun Police Department responded to the two-story, single family home. Attempts were made to contact anyone in the home from outside the residence, but there was no response. A short time later, a woman was heard screaming inside. Troopers reported this to the barrack and then forced their way into an attached garage and entered the home. The troopers were in uniform and were repeatedly announcing they were police officers.
There were no lights on in the house. It was later learned the electricity in the home had been shut off months ago. Troopers used flashlights to light their way through the first floor to the living room, all the while calling out they were police officers.
In the living room, two troopers and a police officer from the Rising Sun Police Department found a woman, later identified as Ms. Lucas, who was seated in a chair. Troopers gave her verbal commands, but she did not respond. She then put her hands in her lap and picked up what appeared to troopers to be a handgun. She told the troopers she did not believe they were the ‘real police.’
The troopers retreated from the immediate area and repeatedly told the woman to drop the gun. They continued to assure her they were police officers there to help. The woman ignored their commands and then raised the gun, pointing it toward the troopers who were just outside the threshold of the room.
In fear for their lives, both troopers fired their department-issued .40 caliber Glock 22 pistols, striking Ms. Lucas. TFC Graham is a flight paramedic and provided immediate emergency care. Medics from Rising Sun also responded to the scene.
The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit was called and responded to conduct the investigation. Investigators learned Ms. Lucas’ 15-year-old son was upstairs when the shooting occurred. He was unharmed and told investigators he had been sleeping in the living room earlier, when his mother had awakened him. She handed him a duffel bag with his clothes inside and told him she loved him and to go upstairs and stay. She also told him where to find a folder containing his birth certificate and her personal information. He did not come downstairs when police arrived.
Investigators also learned Ms. Lucas had not taken prescribed medications for the past couple of weeks. Her husband reportedly stayed at the home periodically, but had left yesterday and was not there. Investigators have information indicating the family was having financial difficulty. The electricity in the home had been turned off, possibly as long as four months ago.
A search warrant was obtained for the home. State Police crime scene technicians have processed the scene. The gun being held by Ms. Lucas was determined to be an air-soft pistol that was the size of a real handgun. The gun had been painted black, making it appear more realistic. Investigators also found what appears to be a suicide note from Ms. Lucas, giving an apparent explanation for her actions.
Two other troopers, three county sheriff’s deputies and the Rising Sun police officer were also at the scene. Those officers were not involved in the shooting. Both troopers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, which is procedure.
The State Police Homicide Unit investigation is continuing. Upon completion, it will be provided to the Cecil County State’s Attorney’s Office for review. The state’s attorney’s office was contacted this morning by investigators and briefed on the investigation. The State Police Internal Affairs Unit will also be conducting an investigation, as it does in any police-involved shooting.