Suspects killed by police were former QA’s residents
ELKTON — Law enforcement officers attempting to arrest a wanted Delaware couple ended up shooting and killing them outside a motel room Tuesday morning, when the man and woman appeared to brandish handguns, police reported.
Investigators later learned, however, that the suspects actually held realistic-looking BB guns before officers opened fire on them, Maryland State Police reported.
Fatally wounded on the secondfloor balcony of the New Eastern Inn motel, at 291 E. Pulaski Highway, were Dover, Del., residents Brandon Wayne Jones and his girlfriend, Chelsea Marie Porter, both 25, reported Greg Shipley, an MSP spokesman.
Jones, a former Millington resident, and Porter, who was from Chester Harbor, were wanted by the Delaware State Police on warrants listing numerous charges against them, including possession with intent to distribute heroin, four counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, three counts of possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited and receiving a stolen firearm, according to Shipley.
Because investigators believed a third suspect had barricaded him or herself in the suspects’ room, scores of law enforcement officers from various agencies converged at the motel within minutes after the fatal police-involved shooting and emergency workers closed both sides of Pulaski Highway from state Route 213 to Whitehall Road.
Facing the New Eastern Inn with rifles drawn, officers stood alongside their patrol cars in and around the motel parking lot. Meanwhile, police sharpshooters were stationed on the roof of the adjacent 7-Eleven at the corner of East Pulaski Highway and Whitehall Road and at other spots in the area.
The apparent standoff lasted more than 90 minutes, before heavily armed and shielded members of an MSP tactical team approached the motel and then the second-floor room in question, entered the room and determined that no one was holed up inside.
Shipley reported that four to six members of the Maryland State Apprehension Team, accompanied by six “fugitive investigators” with the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office and the MSP, had gone to that motel shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday to arrest the couple on the Delaware warrants, at the request of DSP detectives.
As the team members approached the suspects’ secondfloor guest room, the assisting officers remained a distance away from the room, serving as backup during the operation, according to Shipley.
“There were about 12, including the deputies,” Shipley said. “Members of the MSAT approached the hotel room door. They were wearing ballistic vests clearly marked with ‘Police’ and displaying police badges. Police knocked on the door and announced their presence, saying they had a warrant and the suspects should surrender.”
But the apprehension team quickly “retreated” when one of the members looked inside that motel room through a window and suspected an imminent attack, police reported.
“No answer was received and an officer saw a male suspect inside the room pick up a handgun and move toward the door,” Shipley said, adding that team members retreated at that point and they requested assistance from the Elkton Police Department, CCSO and MSP.
The suspects remained inside the guest room for several minutes while officers continued to shout commands to them, police reported.
“Without warning, the male suspect (Jones) then stepped outside the room onto the walkway and pointed a handgun at police, ignoring their commands to drop the weapon,” Shipley said, adding that officers then opened fire on the armed suspect, killing him.
Several seconds later, Porter walked out of the guest room onto the second-floor balcony and, as did Jones, she pointed a handgun and drew police fire when she failed to obey verbal commands to drop her weapon, Shipley reported.
Jones and Porter were pronounced dead at the scene.
Jones stood accused of firing one round from a handgun into the air on Oct. 18 in Dover after threatening to shoot a 44-year-old victim, police said.
Then on Oct. 21, police added, investigators searched Jones’ residence in Dover and confiscated more than an ounce of heroin, more than two pounds of marijuana, $2,700 in “suspected drug proceeds,” a rifle and several handguns, including one reported stolen in Queen Anne’s County in July.
Based on that search, investigators filed numerous criminal charges against Jones and Porter, whom detectives identified as Jones’ girlfriend.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, investigators had not determined how many shots were fired by the troopers and, or, deputies, according to Shipley.
But they had determined that one of the officers who fired is a state trooper, Shipley reported. He said the trooper has been placed on administrative leave, as is procedure pending the outcome of the investigation. Also according to protocol, the MSP Homicide Unit is conducting the investigation into the fatal policeinvolved shootings, Shipley said.
“Investigators are working to determine how many police officers fired and departments they are from,” he said.
During a court-approved search of the scene at the motel, investigators found “two replica handguns next to the suspects,” Shipley said, adding, “At this time, it is believed one is a BB pistol and the other is a compressed air-powered pellet or BB gun.”
Cecil Whig reporter Jane Bellmyer and deputy editor Jessica Iannetta contributed to this article.
Three police officers walk away from the New Eastern Inn at one point in an operation in Elkton Tuesday that ended with two suspects dead.