Ocean City Today

OC shooter argues self-defense

Fired gun in air to scare off pursuers, gets one year in jail plus probation for act
By Brian Gilliland | Dec 07, 2017
Christopher Thomas

(Dec. 8, 2017) Arguing that he was the “good guy with the gun,” Christopher Thomas, 21, was sentenced to concurrent 12-month stints in the county jail in a plea deal stemming from an incident in June.

Thomas’ attorney, Warren Brown, said his client and another man, Tarik Purcell, 19, of Baltimore City, were fleeing a group of unidentified individuals following an altercation at a local nightclub when, returning to their car, the men pulled out firearms and Thomas shot twice into the air to scare off his pursuers.

Brown corroborated the story with a statement from a local convenience store operator who similarly chased off the pugilistic gang earlier in the evening.

Thomas bought the gun at a Columbia, Maryland shop in 2007. On the application, Thomas reported he had no criminal convictions, though he did have a juvenile infraction for assault that should have disqualified him from owning any firearm until the age of 30. His lawyer said the application did not specify “juvenile” matters.

Purcell, under terms of his own plea agreement reached in early October, will serve one year in jail and, following that, three years of supervised probation. Six additional charges were not pursued by prosecutors.

Thomas pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and to illegally owning the weapon, both misdemeanors. He was sentenced to five years with all but 12 months suspended for the assault charge, and three years with all but 12 months suspended for the gun charge. The time can be served concurrently, and seven additional charges were not pursued by prosecutors.

Following incarceration, he will be placed on supervised probation for three years.

Thomas was given credit for the four months he’s been incarcerated since his arrest, and has about eight months remaining to serve.

As part of the deal, the gun used in the incident was forfeited.

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