Who Is Peyton Ham? 16-Year-Old Shot, Killed by Maryland State Trooper

Peyton Ham was identified as the 16-year-old who was fatally shot by a Maryland state trooper on Tuesday afternoon.

Ham was a resident of Leonardtown, Maryland, and lived near the 23000 block of Hollywood Road, according to a statement by the state police.

At a Tuesday press conference, Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Woodrow Jones III said that Ham did not live in the home where the shooting occurred. He noted that there are two active crime scenes where investigations are ongoing: the home where the shooting occurred and another home nearby, where Ham lived.

Ham's reason for being at the home where the shooting occurred is unclear at this time, according to Jones.

"Any loss of life is a tragedy. This especially is a tragedy," Jones said. "I certainly empathize with the family of this young man and what they're feeling right now. I can't even comprehend how sad this has got to be and tragic."

The fatal shooting occurred after 1:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday. State police had received two 911 calls, both reporting a suspicious male who appeared to be carrying a gun.

The first call gave officers a phone number instead of an address, and the line disconnected shortly after officers asked the caller for his location, the state police statement said.

Maryland State Trooper
A Maryland state trooper salutes as President Donald Trump's motorcade heads to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for his annual physical examination on January 12, 2018, in Bethesda. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

"Two minutes later, a second 911 call is received from a male who gives a street address in the 23000-block of Hollywood Road, just down the street from the barrack. The caller said a guy was acting suspicious and he thinks he has a gun," the statement said. The caller hung up before providing his name to police.

Following the 911 calls, a uniformed Maryland state trooper arrived at the location and found Ham standing in the driveway. He was armed with a "gun and knife," according to police.

According to the statement, a witness told investigators that they saw Ham standing in the driveway in a "shooting stance" and pointing the gun at the trooper.

"The trooper fired at Ham, wounding him," the statement said. "A second witness told investigators that after the trooper fired the first time, they saw the male pull out a knife and try to get up."

Ham was told to drop the knife by the trooper, who then fired a second shot at the teen.

After the shooting, EMS was called to the scene to aid Ham, who was eventually transported to MedStar St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown. He was pronounced dead there, according to police.

While the 911 callers and the trooper believed Ham was holding a gun, the police statement noted that after state police crime scene technicians arrived at the scene, they discovered that the gun found there was an "airsoft gun that is a close representation of an actual handgun." A knife was also recovered at the scene, according to police.

The trooper who shot Ham was not injured in the incident but has been placed on administrative leave, which is department procedure for all officer-involved shootings while an investigation is conducted. The trooper has been with the state police for two years and seven months. Police have not yet identified the trooper.

Newsweek was directed to the press release issued by the state police after reaching out for comment.