Deputies were serving a 'high-risk' warrant in a home invasion robbery
A Mount Airy man was shot early Thursday morning by Frederick County Sheriff's deputies with the Special Services Team who were serving a search and seizure warrant. Daniel Vail, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Sheriff's Office says it was asked by Howard County Police for assistance in serving a "high risk" warrant on Vail at an apartment in the 4800 block of Westwind Drive. Vail was wanted in connection with a home invasion robbery on January 8th, 2013, which involved a shotgun and baseball bats.
Deputies with the Special Services Team used a flash-bang to enter the apartment at around 1:00 AM, while also making "Sheriff's Office" announcements. They came upon two bedrooms, one on the left and other on the right. They entered the room on the left and found Vail pointing a shotgun at them. Deputies ordered Vail to put down the weapon, but he didn't comply. Two deputies using their service revolvers fired on Vail, who fell to the floor. Team members administered first-aid and called for a paramedic. Vail was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Based on what we have found at the scene in terms of evidence, based on the statements of the witness deputies, based on everything we know at this point, the shooting was justified," says Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. "They were placed in a situation where they had no choice."
He also says Vail did not fire on the deputies after they entered his room. "Apparently, the shotgun was loaded. He tried to rack a round into the chamber, and we're not sure what happened, whether the gun jammed, but there were no shots fired by Mr. Vail," says Jenkins.
Vail's body was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, which will be performed on Friday.
Deputies also found a 46-year-old woman in the apartment, identified as Vail's mother. She was transported to the Law Enforcement Center for questioning and later released.
Frederick County Bureau of Investigation personnel and Howard County Police secured the residence until they could obtain a search warrant. After getting the warrant, they re-entered the unit and collected evidence, including numerous shell casings.
The two deputies involved in the shooting are identified as Dfc. Charles Zang, and Dfc. Kevin Riffle. Zang is a 15-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, and Riffle has been with the department for seven years. Both have been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
The Frederick County State's Attorney's Office has also been notified.