Sheriff's Office: Man who pulled gun on officers likely was 'contemplating suicide'

James Jardina, listed in critical condition Tuesday, left a note to his wife containing instructions for funeral arrangements

June 12, 2012|By DON AINES |

Law-enforcement officers fired 33 rounds at a Myersville, Md., man who pointed a gun at them Sunday morning, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

James Jacob Jardina, 46, was hit four or five times by the two officers in the incident near Smithsburg, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Jardina was armed with a stolen 9 mm Ruger pistol that was loaded with one round in the chamber and nine rounds in the magazine, the release said.

Although he aimed at them, he did not fire at the officers, one of whom was from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the release said. The other officer was from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police, the release said.

“All indications are that Jardina was contemplating suicide whether at his own hand or by the police officers,” the release said.

Jardina remained in critical condition Tuesday at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and was unable to be questioned by investigators, the release said.

Investigators on Tuesday searched the pickup truck Jardina was in when officers found him at the park-and-ride lot off Mapleville Road shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday. No additional weapons were found, but there was a handwritten note, deputies said.

The note was to Jardina’s wife, telling her how she could get money from his 401(k) account and Social Security to pay her bills, the release said. It also contained instructions for his funeral arrangements.

Washington County Emergency Services received a call at 12:45 a.m. Sunday informing 911 personnel that Jardina was on the telephone with his wife and was threatening suicide, the sheriff’s office said Sunday. At the time of the call, Jardina was reported to have three firearms in his pickup, deputies said.

A Natural Resources Police officer spotted the truck in the park-and-ride lot, and two deputies responded to the scene. One deputy blocked one entrance to the lot, while another deputy and the Natural Resources officer went to the other, the sheriff’s office said Sunday.

As they approached the truck, Jardina started to drive away, but then stopped and got out. The officers ordered him to show his hands, but he turned the weapon toward them, the sheriff’s office said.

The deputy and Natural Resources Police officer, both armed with .223-caliber rifles, fired on Jardina, but he did not go down and continued pointing the Ruger at them, deputies said.

The deputy fired 20 rounds, and the Natural Resources officer fired 13 rounds. It could not be determined which shots fired by the officers hit Jardina because they were both of the same caliber and were fragmented, the release said.

Jardina was hit in the torso and hip areas, Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said Tuesday.

The officers fired the semiautomatic rifles from a distance of 40 to 60 yards, Mullendore said. Use of the rifles is a normal protocol in high threat situations, he said.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined Jardina’s weapon was stolen from a residence in Myersville, deputies said.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office was handling the stolen weapon investigation, the release said.

As a result of the shooting, both officers will remain on administrative leave until an internal investigation is completed, according to Mullendore.

The internal investigation is expected to be completed and presented to the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office for review as early as next week, he said.

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