UPDATED: 1:25 pm on Thursday, May 17, 2018.
Montgomery County Police detectives and officers from the 5th District in Germantown are continuing to investigate the events leading up to the violent outbreak of gunfire surrounding what should have been a solemn occasion on Tuesday night, and are hoping the event will foster a closer relationship with community members, as both groups search for answers.
The shooting of a 21-year-old adult male victim happened shortly before 8:15 pm on May 15 in the Germantown Park neighborhood. The violence occurred as many local residents gathered for a vigil to remember 18-year-old Genesis McCarter-Berretto, a former resident of the neighborhood, who was shot and killed while attending a post-prom house party in Frederick on Sunday, May 13.
The unidentified victim was shot once in the head. MCPD reported that the victim remains in the hospital in stable condition and it appears that the injuries do the gunshot are not life threatening.
According to Lt. Amy Daum, with the 5th District in Germantown, “Our investigators are working very, very diligently with a number of different units without our police department and other police departments to put this incident to bed. It is something that we are working very hard to bring to a close.”
Daum would not give any specifics about the investigation and would not say if police believe the shooting was directly connected to the death of McCarter-Berretto. “Our investigation is ongoing, and our investigators are collaborating with investigators in Frederick to determine if there is any type of link between the two. This is a very new investigation,” said Daum via a phone interview on Wednesday afternoon, “while we are past the beginning stages we are not to the point where I can comment on any connection between the two incidents.”
She confirmed that while police did detain a number of individuals after the shooting on Tuesday night, no arrests have been made in connection with the incident. Daum said no arrests were made in the Germantown Park neighbor at all on Tuesday night after the vigil and shooting.
Daum said that 5th District officers were aware that the vigil was planned, however, police did not expect violence at the vigil.
Initial reports, including the official MCPD press release, seemed to indicate that the incident began with an assault and ended with gunfire, however, Daum suggested that might not be correct. “We do not know that this began with an assault. While we did get a call for a report of an assault that had just occurred, we do not know that this began with an assault. We got multiple 9-1-1 calls. Those calls ranged from the report of suspicious individuals in the area to an assault that just occurred, to what we ultimately found out was a shooting. I am uncomfortable saying that this began with an assault because that is not something we are certain of at this time.”
The shooting marked the second time in a month that gunfire rang out within 100-yards of the intersection of Sage Way and Cinnamon Drive, however, the first time there was apparently no victims. On Saturday, April 28 police responded to reports of a large group of youths fighting and the sound of gunfire in the area. In that case, police arrested an unidentified 17-year-old. The teen from Gaithersburg was charged with possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment after he was found in the nearby woods.
She would not comment on whether this incident was part of a turf-war between rival factions within the neighborhood. “This is an investigation that is ongoing, and I can’t talk about it. I can’t talk about any connections between the victim and suspects.”
Daum said that while there is a perceived increase in violence in the 5th District in recent months, police data does not show that to be the case. “The data that I have seen do not confirm an uptick in assaults, not for this type of assault.”
Montgomery County Police report all crime data to the County’s centralized open data website, DataMontgomery and the numbers seem to agree. Since January 2017 the highest number of assaults occurred in January of 2018 when there were 68 reported assaults, but with few exceptions, the total assaults reported have been fairly consistent. January 2018 and November 2017 are the only months with more than 60 reported assaults, and February of 2018 the only month with less than 40 total assaults.
There have been 37 reported assaults since May first, but the data is only current through May 15.
Police are asking anyone with information about Tuesday’s shooting to contact police the Germantown Investigative Section at 240.773.6237. To be eligible for a reward, tipsters may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or enter a tip online.Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest and/or indictment of the suspects. Tipsters will remain anonymous.
“Really good policing and really good police departments depend on a partnership with the community,” said Daum. “Police officers cannot do everything on their own. Sometimes we need help from the communities that we serve to serve them better. There is a multitude of ways that people can help us, whether it is a tip through Crime Solvers or stop an officer on the street and provide information. We would love for people to reach out to us and help us. If you see a police officer, let them know what is happening in your community. An anonymous call to 911, just a call to 911 can often make a big difference in a case. We can’t be everywhere at all times. Without that help, we can’t do the best job that we possibly can.”
“The men and women of the Germantown police station are out there proactively policing every single day. We are getting guns off the street based on person stops, and traffic stops on a regular basis. Our police officers are dedicated to keeping the communities in Germantown safe, but we can’t do that alone,” said Daum.
NOTE: The information about the status of the victim was became available and was added at 1:30 pm after the story was initially posted.
Top: Police tape surrounds Montgomery County Police as they investigate a shooting near Curry Powder Lane in Germantown.
Next: Police stopped and detailed a number of individuals at the 7-Eleven on Clopper Road after the shooting on Tuesday night. However, no arrests were made.
Next: DataMontgomery shows the number of assaults in reported in the 5th District has remained consistent.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.