Ocean City Today

Witnesses saw two Gwynn Oak men firing guns last week

Jun 22, 2017

(June 23, 2017) Ocean City Police have modified the charges against two Gwynn Oak men who allegedly fired guns several times in the 100 block of Wicomico Street last Thursday.

Christopher M. Thomas, 20, and Tarik R. Purcell, 18, are both charged with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and use of a firearm in commission of a violent crime after several witnesses reported shots were fired downtown around 9 p.m.

Thomas is also charged with discharging a firearm in city limits and illegal possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, due to a previous adjudication in juvenile court. Purcell is charged with driving a vehicle with unauthorized window tinting.

Police arrested the pair in a silver Nissan Altima during what police said was a high-risk traffic stop on Baltimore Avenue near 12th Street. Several witnesses identified Thomas and Purcell as the men walking around and firing shots in the air.

An officer on bike patrol downtown was approached by a pedestrian who said he saw a man walk  with a rifle down Wicomico Street. Police later found two nine-millimeter shell casings in the street’s westbound lane.

Additional witnesses stepped forward and said that two men carrying guns left the scene in a silver car, according to police reports. A Nissan driven by Purcell and matching that description was seen by OCPD on Baltimore Avenue heading toward Second Street.

Police said Purcell appeared to be reaching to the car’s floorboards while driving, like he was attempting to conceal something.

While Purcell and Thomas were stopped by police, other witnesses were interviewed. One told officers that they saw a group of young women scream and run away from Wicomico Street and Baltimore Avenue after two men, one in a gold shirt and one in a black shirt were seen walking in that area. The two were later identified as Purcell and Thomas.

The same witness said she heard the men yell, “Want some? We got something for you,” followed by gunshots.

Another witness who was staying at the Ocean Manor reported having seen men matching Thomas’ and Purcell’s descriptions take guns out of the trunk of a car parked on Wicomico Street and fire them in the air.

Police said that they believe the pair fired the guns in the air as a way to scare off other people who started an argument with them. A third witness told police a disorderly crowd came into the business where he worked and talked about fighting the employees.

The crowd later left the business and headed south on Baltimore Avenue, and moments later, the witness heard two gunshots.

When Ocean City Police arrested Purcell and Thomas, they both said they were frightened of the people with whom they were arguing.

Police found two Hi-Point 9mm carbine pistols and a baggie containing marijuana in the vehicle. Two rounds of ammunition were found on the car front passenger’s side and a spent shell casing was found on the rear driver’s side. The spent casing in the car were consistent with the shell casings found on Wicomico Street, charging documents state.

Thomas and Purcell were seen by a Maryland District Court Commissioner and were taken to the Worcester County Jail without bond.

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