Carjacking, pursuit leave panicked casino-goers injured
A case of mistaken identity after a carjacking in the District late Friday resulted in a police pursuit that ended 20 miles away at Maryland Live Casino, where several panicked customers were injured as they tried to flee from the resulting arrest action.
The Anne Arundel County Fire Department transported three individuals from the casino to a hospital with injuries “consistent with efforts to evacuate” the building, according to spokesman Russ Davies. Three others declined to be transported. Police said the driver of the car was arrested without incident at a slot machine and is being held on a drug charge.
“We didn’t order anyone to leave the casino or the casino shut down, but I guess when a bunch of cops come in, people get worried,” said Glenn Shanahan, a spokesman for Anne Arundel County police.
The incident began about 9:30 p.m. Friday when D.C. police responded to reports of an armed carjacking in the 800 block of Division Avenue NE. They found one person with a nonfatal gunshot wound who reported that he had been shot by people who then took his Jeep Cherokee.
According to Shanahan, police searching for the vehicle stopped a similar Cherokee in the vicinity. That driver, while not apparently involved in the carjacking, fled the scene. Anne Arundel police said the driver was worried about having marijuana in his possession.
“Just bad luck for the bad guys,” Shanahan said. “If he had stayed at the stop, it probably would have been fine.”
Instead, police took up the pursuit north on Interstate 295, believing that they were chasing a possible carjacking suspect. The pursuit was taken over by a Prince George’s police helicopter, Shanahan said, which followed the Cherokee to the Hanover area of Anne Arundel. The suspect was speeding, but not excessively, he said.
At Maryland Live, which shares parking with Arundel Mills, police working as mall security officers saw the vehicle enter a parking garage. Quickly reviewing security video, the officers followed the driver into the casino and to a particular slot machine. Within 20 minutes, they moved in and took him into custody without resistance.
“Once they determined exactly where he was, they sent an arrest team in,” Shanahan said. “It was pretty seamless on our end.”
But the arrival of a large group of fast-moving officers sparked a panic among some casino patrons.
In bolting for the exits, at least five suffered minor injuries, and one was evaluated for a “medical emergency.” Three of the injured declined to be taken to a hospital.
The casino released a statement saying they had assisted police in the arrest.
“Ensuring the safety and security of our guests and employees at all times is our top priority, and we’ll continue to welcome millions of guests in a safe manner, as we have since opening,” spokeswoman Carmen E. Gonzales said.
Anne Arundel police had not released the name of the person suspected of having marijuana by Saturday afternoon. Other charges were possible against the individual, they said. D.C. police said the investigation into the carjacking was continuing.
“I guess when a bunch of cops come in [to the casino], people get worried.” Glenn Shanahan, Anne Arundel police