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Police chief's actions ruled appropriate

February 26, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Smithsburg Police Chief Tom Bowers acted appropriately last November when he fired his gun at a suspect who was barreling down on him with his vehicle during a police pursuit.

That was the ruling of Sgt. Vincent Maas of the Maryland State Police internal affairs division, who conducted an investigation of the Nov. 10, 1996, incident.

The suspect, Richard A. Sheffler, 29, of Waynesboro, Pa., was struck in the leg by one of the shots fired by Bowers, police said.

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After hospital treatment, Sheffler was jailed and remains in custody at the Washington County Detention Center awaiting trial.

Sheffler was charged with assaulting a police officer, driving while intoxicated, destruction of property and numerous traffic violations, police said.

Trial is tentatively set for April 24.

After the shooting, Bowers was placed on administrative leave with pay for two days by the Smithsburg mayor and Town Council.

Maas said Tuesday that the mayor and council requested his investigation of Bowers' actions.

Bowers, Smithsburg's police chief for two years, was a Washington County sheriff's deputy for 10 years and a Williamsport town police officer for one year.

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