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Mother of Man Killed By Officer On I-83 Questions Baltimore Co. Police, Says Son Was Unarmed

SPARKS, Md. (WJZ) —The mother of a man shot and killed by a Baltimore County police officer is questioning whether police did enough to de-escalate the situation. It happened on Interstate 83 in Sparks Glencoe Tuesday night.

Police identified the man as 48-year-old Eric Sopp. His mother said he was a father of two.

She told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren he suffered from mental health issues including depression and anxiety and was suicidal Tuesday at her home not far away from where he was killed.

She showed WJZ the cell phone she says her son broke. She says he threatened to kill himself with an ice pick, but she was able to get him to put it away.

She also tried to take his car keys—but he managed to get them and drive off. She called 911. A short time later, an officer shot Sopp between the Mount Carmel and Belfast Road exits.

Sopp's mother, who asked that WJZ not show her face or use her name, does not believe her son was armed.

"My son was not in a good mental frame of mind," she told Hellgren. " I called 911 and I thought it was very important that they immediately get out there and look for him and his car. I think the situation should've been handled differently. If they needed to protect themselves, they could've used a taser gun or shot him in a place that was not vital. So what they really did was kill my son, and I am not happy at all with that outcome."

Police have yet to detail what happened during the man's encounter with the officer.

According to a police press release Wednesday evening, "Police officers were dispatched to the residence and a description of the car, the individual, and the possibility of him still being armed was communicated to other officers."

WJZ listened to police radio calls leading up to the incident, and officers are told, "He tried to stab himself with an ice pick but no indication he actually took it with him."

Police said in a statement, "As with any police involved incident, we are conducting a thorough investigation of the sequence of events, circumstances and evidence surrounding last night's shooting.  The officer is currently on administrative leave, per departmental policy.  Once the department's investigation is complete the results will be forwarded to the Office of the State's Attorney for review. In addition, our police officers receive training related to assisting individuals who are experiencing a behavioral crisis."

Police also wrote, "A loss of life is grievous and we extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Sopp."

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