Anne Arundel County police have arrested a Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation police officer after, according to a police report, he drunkenly put his firearm near the head of a neighbor who had pulled over his car to check on his welfare.
Fred Puryear, 44, used a black handgun to threaten his neighbor, Michael Wojciechowski, 34, on Saturday night, the report states. The tense standoff between the intoxicated officer and Mr. Wojciechowski happened just as Mr. Wojciechowski and his girlfriend, Angelica Divers, 26, were driving home from a store, along with their 1-year-old and 2-year-old daughters, according to the report.
The family had been driving on Camrose Avenue, in Brooklyn Park, Maryland, when they encountered Mr. Puryear.
The officer pulled a weapon from his waist area, pointed it toward the blue Ford Mustang that contained the family and demanded that Mr. Wojciechowski put his hands where he could see them before moving in closer, according to the report.
“I have my gun in your ear,” Mr. Puryear informed him.
“Is this for real?” Mr. Wojciechowski asked. “I have my kids in the car. You are scaring them.”
It was not clear by Tuesday evening whether Mr. Puryear was accused of using a personal weapon or a department-issued gun to threaten Mr. Wojciechowski. The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation did not immediately respond to a query about whether it distributed firearms to its personnel.
Department spokeswoman Maureen O’Connor confirmed to The Washington Times on Tuesday that Mr. Puryear was an employee of the government agency. The department has been made aware of the charges against Mr. Puryear and has begun an investigation into the incident, Ms. O’Connor said.
“We are aware of the incident and are currently investigating,” she said.
Ms. O’Connor did not say whether Mr. Puryear had been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
“Personnel matters are confidential under Maryland state law,” she said.
Mr. Puryear keeps a total of 13 firearms in two bedrooms of his house, according to a statement his wife made to Anne Arundel County police. He also has an assault rifle in the basement, police said in their report.
Police took one of those weapons as evidence because it “matched the description of the firearm that was pointed at the victims,” the report states.
Police who responded to accusations of a standoff in Brooklyn Park say in their report that Mr. Puryear “appeared to be highly intoxicated.” They said he was hard to understand, “possibly due to his intoxication.”
“Mr. Puryear had glassy blood shot eyes and was slurring his speech,” the report states. “At one point Mr. Puryear advised that he was a Police Sergeant with the State of Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulations.”
Mr. Puryear explained to officers that he “drew down on the Mustang,” which is an informal way of saying that he pulled his firearm out on the vehicle, according to the report. He faces 14 charges of assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, firearm use felony-violent crime and reckless endangerment, according to the report.
It was the second time that police had received a complaint about Mr. Puryear in less than an hour. At 10 p.m., about 40 minutes before the officer threatened Mr. Wojciechowski, police were called to the area after Mr. Puryear allegedly yelled at a 16-year-old and accused the teenager of taking pictures of his property and vehicles, according to a second and separate Anne Arundel County Police Department report.
Police said that when they confronted Mr. Puryear about the incident, they noticed that he had bloodshot eyes and was slurring his speech.