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Frederick County Deputy Involved In Shootout Cleared To Return To Duty

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A Frederick County deputy is back on patrol after wounding a man in a shootout during a pursuit last month, authorities said Thursday.

Deputy 1st Class Christian Lucente was cleared to return to full-time patrol duties after the State's Attorney's Office found his use of deadly force was both necessary and proportional, Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said.

While Lucente will not face any criminal charges stemming from the shooting, the Sheriff's Office's internal review of the incident is ongoing, Jenkins said.

"I was completely confident that DFC Lucente would be exonerated of any criminal charges for his decision to use deadly force based on the facts of the criminal investigation," the sheriff said in a statement. "The administrative review into the incident is continuing to affirm that the deputy's actions were reasonable in that moment, completely justifiable, and within the policy of the Sheriff's Office."

The review stems from a chase and shootout that unfolded about 2:45 a.m. March 18 when Lucente tried to pull over a driver for speeding and on suspicion of driving under the influence on Interstate 270 in Frederick County.

Instead of stopping, authorities said, the driver kept going before bailing out of his vehicle and leading the deputy on a foot chase. At some point, authorities said, the driver opened fire at Lucente, who returned fire with at least three rounds.

The driver, 28-year-old Lookman Khalil-Bello of Hagerstown, was treated for his injuries at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and released. He was later booked into the Frederick County Adult Detention Center.

Authorities said a firearm was recovered from the scene.

Bello faces several charges including first- and second-degree assault, eluding police and several firearm and ammo offenses, Jenkins previously reported.

Lucente, a five-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office assigned to the agency's patrol division, was initially placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for police shootings.

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