Deputies found three dead at the scene, spokeswoman Sgt. Carly Hose said during a press conference. Another victim was taken to hospital in critical condition.
A shooting at a machine shop near Smithsburg, Maryland, left three people dead and another seriously injured on Thursday afternoon.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said officers responded to reports of an active gunman at Columbia Machine, a manufacturing facility on the 12900 block of Bikle Road, around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
They found three victims at the scene, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Carly Hose said during a press conference. Another victim was taken to hospital in critical condition.
In a later press conference Thursday night, Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore identified the victims as Mark Alan Frey, 50; Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30. The injured victim has been identified as Brandon Chase Michael, 42. Mullendore said the victims and the suspect worked at the facility.
Mullendore did not identify the suspect, but said he was a 23-year-old man living in West Virginia. The suspect’s name will be withheld while criminal charges are being prepared.
A male suspect fled by car before officers arrived, the sheriff’s office said. A vehicle description was circulated to nearby law enforcement officers, and a Maryland State Police Department met him a short time later at a roundabout on Md. Route 66/Maplesville Road and Mount Aetna Road – about 8 miles from the first shooting.
Bill Dofflemyer of the Maryland State Police said three troopers encountered the suspect and when they tried to stop him, he immediately started firing at the police. The troopers returned fire and during the exchange the suspect was beaten and so was a trooper.
“We are still working with the sheriff on what happened and why it kept escalating,” Dofflemyer told reporters.
Shots were heard in images of eyewitnesses posted on social media. Mullendore said the suspect used a semi-automatic pistol, which was recovered after the shooting. He declined to specify the caliber or model.
Both the officer and the suspect were taken to hospital. Maryland’s state police said in a release late Thursday night that the injured trooper – a 15-year veteran of the department – was released after treatment.
Rep. David Trone, who represents Maryland’s 6th congressional district, referred to the incident on Twitter as a “mass shooting” and urged residents to avoid the crime scene.
We are actively following the mass shooting in #Smithsburg at this time, and our office is in contact with officials on the ground. If you are in the area, please stay away from the area while the police respond.
— Representative David Trone (@RepDavidTrone) June 9, 2022
US Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, lamented the loss of life in his state so soon after other recent shootings and vowed action.
“Today’s horrific shooting comes as our state and nation have witnessed tragedy after tragedy, and it must stop,” he said in a statement. “We must take action to address the mass shootings and daily toll of gun violence in our communities.”
Smithsburg, a community of nearly 3,000 people, is located just west of the Camp David presidential retreat and about 75 miles (75 km) northwest of Baltimore. The factory was located in a sparsely populated area northeast of the city center with a church, several businesses and farmland nearby.
Abigail Constantino of WTOP and Associated Press contributed to this report.
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