Sus­pects killed by po­lice were for­mer QA’s res­i­dents

Record Observer - - News - By CARL HAMIL­TON ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

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.

PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

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.

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