Man killed by Montomery County police at Sandy Spring restaurant identified -- Gazette.Net


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This story was updated at 1:29 p.m. on July 5, 2012.

Montgomery County police have identified the armed man who was shot and killed in a confrontation with police officers July 4 outside a Sandy Spring restaurant.

Fritz O. Naecker, 63, was waving a silver handgun in the outdoor patio of the Urban Bar-B-Que restaurant at 805 Olney-Sandy Spring Road at about 4:31 p.m. when he was approached by two Montgomery County police officers and ordered to drop his weapon, police said.

The officers, Sgt. James Rudnick and Officer Matthew Weidner, both veteran officers of the department’s Wheaton district, fired at Naecker as he turned and tried to re-enter the restaurant’s dining area, said Capt. John A. Damskey, commander of the Wheaton district, who arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting.

“I would say that the combination of the movement with the handgun and the subject’s attempts to re-enter the business prompted the officers’ decision to open fire,“ Damskey said. “When you have someone with a handgun and he’s starting to re-enter the business with all those people, that’s a very immediate and serious threat for us; it’s a very dangerous situation.”

Damskey was unsure if Naecker’s gun was loaded.

Naecker was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries later that day, police said.

Restaurant manager Jonoah Degroot, who was present at the time of the shooting, said he couldn’t discuss the details of the shooting, but noted that no one in the restaurant was directly threatened by Naecker.

“It was simply an altercation that took place between this man, who is clearly unstable, and the police ...,” Degroot said.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting still are under investigation, police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said. Starks was not certain if alcohol was a factor in Naecker’s behavior.

Naecker was arrested and charged with drunk and disorderly conduct on July 15, 2009 by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, according to North Carolina court records. Naecker most recently was listed to an address in the 200 block of Oyster Cove Drive in Grasonville, when he was found guilty of attempting to drive under the influence on July 25, 2011 in Queen Anne’s County District Court.

Both officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Starks said.

Rudnick has been an officer for 17 years, and Weidner has worked in the Wheaton district for six years. Damskey said he believes his officers did the right thing.

“Our homicide and sex division is looking into this, and we’re pretty confident that we’ll see these officers cleared in the near future and get them back to work,” he said.

Naecker frequently was in debt, often in excess of $8,000, in a series of civil cases in Montgomery County Circuit Court from July 2003 to August 2004. A foreclosure proceeding against Naecker stemming from a $113,771.23 unpaid mortgage debt on a Silver Spring home was dismissed in July 2007, according to court records.

jarais@gazette.netaruoff@gazette.net