ELKTON — Prosecutors will not seek charges against a man who shot a rival in the leg at the shooter’s Elkton-area home in August, concluding that the homeowner had acted in self-defense.
“This is a classic case of self-defense,” said Cecil County State’s Attorney Ellis Rollins III, noting the shooter had exhausted all other options before firing at the man.
The conclusion by Rollins validates an assertion made at the outset by that shooter, whom investigators and prosecutors have identified only as a 50-year-old resident of the 700 block of Augustine Herman Highway, south of Elkton.
That homeowner shot a 41-year-old man in the upper left leg on the back deck of his home, prosecutors said.
The injured man was flown to University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore, where doctors treated his “non-life-threatening wound,” prosecutors added.
He had accompanied a 39-year-old woman to the home — where she used to live with the shooter before a breakup led the homeowner to place some of her belongings outside the residence, according to Rollins.
Another man also accompanied the woman to the residence, prosecutors reported.
After the trio arrived, a heated argument between the homeowner and the threesome started, prosecutors said, noting that the dispute was over the removal of the woman’s belongings.
The two men and the woman approached the retreating homeowner, who had armed himself with a handgun because he had anticipated a possible physical conflict, prosecutors added.
Backed up against a railing on his deck, the homeowner, who had verbally ordered the trio to leave, fired a warning shot because the 41-year-old man continued to approach, according to prosecutors.
When the man failed to heed that warning shot, the homeowner fired a bullet into the man’s leg — ending the escalating situation, prosecutors reported.
“He did everything he could have done. Maryland law says the person must first retreat if possible. He retreated as far as he could. He was backed up into a corner of his deck. He had nowhere else to go,” Rollins said.
The rival kept advancing, even after the warning shot, prosecutors said. Even so, prosecutors added, the homeowner still exercised some restraint.
“He said, ‘I could have killed him if I wanted to’,” Rollins said, recalling what the homeowner had told investigators. “But he shot him in the leg instead.”
Rollins also pointed out that the homeowner was “outnumbered three-to-one” during the incident.
“One of the men who had come to the house with the woman was much bigger than (the homeowner). He was a big guy, over 6-feet tall and weighing about 300 pounds.”
Rollins applauded Det. David Mallery of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, lead investigator, for the extensive work he did in the case.
“The report that I read was 6-inches thick. David Mallery did a very thorough investigation. He ran down every possible lead,” Rollins said. “I didn’t have any questions after reading the report. But I still met with investigators, just in case we had missed something.”
For the most part, even the versions given by the three who had showed up at the shooter’s home matched the account given by the shooter.
“At the end of the day, my conclusion is that this is very clearly a case of self-defense,” Rollins said.
Because the rival had suffered a gunshot wound and because no one actually physically assaulted the homeowner, prosecutors will not seek charges against the woman and the two men who showed up at that house, Rollins reported.