By Alejandro Alvarez and Jack Moore
Three people are dead and another seriously injured after a shooting at a machine shop near Smithsburg on Thursday afternoon.
In a news conference Thursday night, Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore identified the victims who were killed as Mark Alan Frey, 50; Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30.
An injured victim has been identified as Brandon Chase Michael, 42. Mullendore said the victims and the suspect worked at Columbia Machine, a manufacturing facility on the 12900 block of Bikle Road.
Mullendore did not identify the suspect but said that he was a 23-year-old man who lives in West Virginia. Maryland State Police later confirmed the suspect’s identity is being withheld pending charges being filed by the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded around 2:30 p.m. Thursday for reports of an active shooter.
Deputies found three victims dead at the scene, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Sgt. Carly Hose said at a news briefing. One additional victim was transported to a hospital in critical condition.
A male suspect fled the scene by car before deputies arrived, the sheriff’s office said. A vehicle description was circulated among nearby law enforcement, and a Maryland State Police trooper encountered him a short time later at a roundabout on Md. Route 66/Maplesville Road and Mount Aetna Road — about 5 miles from the initial shooting.
Bill Dofflemyer with Maryland State Police said three troopers encountered the suspect and when they tried to stop him, he immediately started firing at the police. The troopers returned fire and in the exchange the suspect was struck, as was one trooper.
“We’re still working with sheriff’s office on what happened and why it kept escalating,” Dofflemyer told reporters.
Gunfire could be heard ringing out on eyewitness footage posted to social media. Mullendore said a semiautomatic handgun was recovered after the shootout. He did not specify the caliber or model.
Both the trooper and the suspect were taken to a hospital. Maryland State Police later said in a release that the injured trooper — a 15-year veteran of the department — was released after receiving treatment.
Rep. David Trone, who represents Maryland’s 6th congressional district, referred to the incident on Twitter as a “mass shooting” and urge residents to avoid the scene.
We are actively monitoring the mass shooting in #Smithsburg right now, and our office is in contact with officials on the ground. If you’re local, please stay away from the area as law enforcement responds.
— Rep. David Trone (@RepDavidTrone) June 9, 2022
Smithsburg, a town of nearly 3,000 people, is just west of the Camp David presidential retreat.
WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.
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