When Hamed Ghorouni Delcheh’s father, Ebrahim, accompanied officers serving his son a warrant for failure to show up at a court hearing, he had one request for them, which he made over and over:
“Please don’t kill my son,” he pleaded on the morning of July 20, as he and 10 officers converged on the Gaithersburg townhouse where Delcheh was located.
According to a report released June 7 by the Independent Investigations Division (IID) of the Office of the Attorney General, Delcheh, 35, brandished a knife and was subsequently shot four times on his arm, leg, back and torso and killed by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Domenic Mash.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office also announced June 7 that Mash will not face any charges.
Delcheh had a history of a schizo-affective disorder, bipolar type, and the court served him the warrant because he did not attend a court hearing, and he removed his ankle monitor, according to the Montgomery County Circuit Court records.
According to emails between Delcheh’s father and Delcheh’s attorney the night before the shooting, his father said that he believed Delcheh was off his medications, according to the report.
The next morning around 9 a.m., Delcheh reached out to his attorney Richard Finc and said he wanted to surrender to the court that day, Finc said.
“I’m going to take you there myself,” Finc said he told Delcheh.
According to Finc, Delcheh wanted to turn himself in to the court for the warrant because he wanted to be committed to a mental facility.
“He was decompensating mentally. He had been for a period of time,” Finc said.
Finc said that this shooting could have been prevented if the police officers were more equipped to handle mentally ill individuals. He argues that there did not need to be a large team of U.S. Marshals and deputies present to serve an arrest warrant for a man struggling with mental illness.
“It was a tragedy that he is now gone,” Finc said. “This didn’t have to happen.”
Despite Delcheh dealing with mental illness, as his father frequently reminded officers and as the court determined, there were no counselors or mental health workers present, according to an interim report from the Independent Investigations Division of the state Attorney General’s Office.
In fact, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office does not employ mental health workers or send them out for an arrest.
“The mental health professional doesn’t go with us because there’s no mental health evaluation being done,” said Robert Lehman, Chief Deputy of the Montgomery County Sherrif’s Office.
If someone reports to police that a person is a danger to themselves or others, then officers take them to a hospital where doctors can evaluate them there, according to Lehman.
“The sheriff’s office job is to get them, as safely as possible, and take them to a hospital,” Lehman said. “We’re not evaluating whether they have to be taken to the hospital.”
The U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, which employed the officers involved in the incident, typically does not send out mental health or crisis workers on warrants, according to Dave Oney, Public Affairs Specialist at U.S. Marshals Service.
Also, Delcheh’s initial case, where he was charged with home invasion and two counts of first-degree assault, was heard in a Mental Health Court. The Mental Health Court Program was established in Montgomery County for both Circuit and District courts.
The Mental Health Court is a “problem-solving court with a dedicated docket used to divert defendants who have committed crimes because of a severe, persistent mental illness away from prosecution and jail and into a structured, individualized program,” according to the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s website.
He received a four-year jail sentence initially but was later granted time served. He was then placed on a three-year probation. As part of his probation, he was required to receive psychiatric care and take all medication as directed, according to the Circuit Court.
On March 14, 2022, Delcheh was removed from the crisis center he was placed in by the court for “non-compliance” because he “failed to take medications as prescribed.” On April 6, 2022, the Court ordered that after his discharge from the facility, he would return to his parents’ home in Gaithersburg with a GPS ankle monitor and be placed in home confinement, according to the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
According to court records, he had three home confinement violations in April and May, and on July 15, Delcheh had a “GPS strap tamper” and his “whereabouts were unknown.” Also, on July 15, he was supposed to appear in court, but he failed to appear, which resulted in a warrant being issued, according to the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Officers first went to Delcheh’s father’s house in Gaithersburg, and when they found Delcheh was not there, they asked the father to come with them to help locate his son, according to the report.
When officers arrived at the Gaithersburg townhome Delcheh’s father directed them to, Delcheh threw a large kitchen knife out a window. He then exited the home and retrieved the knife, according to officers on the scene.
One officer deployed his Taser, but Delcheh ran past the deputies down the street. Marshal Gates, an officer on the scene, said he believed the Taser struck Delcheh because he yelled, but the autopsy report did not identify any Taser prongs on Delcheh’s body. This means that the Taser “did not have any visible effect” on Delchech, according to the report.
Delcheh ran up Garth Terrace, his father and Mash running after him. The other officers remained in front of and behind the townhome, according to the report.
Mash said that he believed that Delcheh would stab his father in this chase, since his father was trying to grab his son and was very close to him, according to the report.
Then, Delcheh turned to Mash with the large kitchen knife raised above his head, approximately three feet away from him, according to the report.
Mash then fired eight shots, four of the shots hitting Delcheh and one hitting his father.
Delcheh was pronounced dead at the scene and his father sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to the report.
Mash will not be prosecuted, the state attorney general’s office announced June 7. The charging decision was made on June 2 by the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Montgomery County and Howard County state’s attorneys have an agreement to review officer-involved civilian fatalities in each other’s jurisdictions. Starting Oct. 1 of this year, the state Attorney General’s Office will have charging authority.
Also, The Office of the Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division has been investigating the shooting in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) because the incident involved a member of a federal police task force. However, the FBI did not contribute to the writing or legal analysis of the report directly, according to a news release.
Mash was one of 10 officers assigned to the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force serving a warrant for Delcheh on July 20, 2022, at the Gaithersburg townhome.
Mash was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation was conducted. At the time of the shooting, he had been with the department for around nine years, according to the IID report.
Since he returned from administrative leave, he has been working in a non-law enforcement capacity, Lehman said. He will continue working in this capacity until the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office concludes their administrative investigation, which will determine if Mash receives any disciplinary action from the department, Lehman said.
The investigation should conclude “very soon,” Lehman added.