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Gunman on loose; four arrested after Elkton triple-shooting

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ELKTON — A gunman remained on the loose Tuesday after police arrested his four alleged accomplices in connection with the shootings of two adults and a 6-year-old boy at an Elkton residence a day earlier, according to police and charging documents.

Officers made those four arrests amid a barricade situation at two locations in the Hollingsworth Manor neighborhood, which is a short distance away from the Huntsman Drive townhouse where the triple-shooting occurred on Monday afternoon.

Elkton Police Department officials identified the suspect at large as Jason “TY” Holland, who is considered to be “armed and dangerous,” according to police. Investigators as asking for the public’s help in finding him.

Anyone with information that might help investigators find Holland is asked to call 911, or EPD Det. Comley at 410-398-4200, ext. 36, or email Comley at scomley@elktonpd.org.

A segment of the shootings was caught on video by a home security camera, according to court records.

Arrested amid the barricade situations and charged with three counts each of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and other offenses are Robert Eugene Hammond IV, 23; his mother, Crystal Louise Hammond, 43; and his brother, Cody Allen Hammond, 18, according to Cecil County District Court records and police.

The Hammonds live at 103 Cow Ln. in Hollingsworth Manor, court records indicate.

Their Cow Lane residence was one of two locations in that neighborhood that police tactical team members and other law enforcement officers surrounded during the hours-long standoff after the shootings – which occurred at approximately 3 p.m. Monday outside a townhouse on nearby Huntsman Drive.

Also arrested is Nakeere Anthony Sayers, an 18-year-old Newark, Del., resident is charged with six counts of reckless endangerment, three counts of first-degree assault and three mirroring conspiracy charges, court records show. Attempted murder charges were not filed against Sayers, unlike with the three Hammond family members arrested in the case.

All four suspects remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond on Tuesday, court records show.

Cecil Whig archives and court records indicate that Robert Hammond has had past brushes with the law and, at the time of Monday’s triple-shooting, he was awaiting a June 10 preliminary hearing relating to a January incident in which he stands charged with first-degree assault, possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, reckless endangerment and second-degree assault.

Moreover, Robert and Crystal Hammond — along with Crystal Hammond’s adult daughter, who is Robert’s sister — were charged with numerous drug offenses after investigators raided two Hollingsworth Manor residences in April 2019 and confiscated more than 200 baggies containing heroin mixed with fentanyl, a drug scale, a drug sales ledger and other evidence.

Prosecutors later dropped several of the 42 charges against Crystal Hammond and placed the remaining ones on the stet, or inactive, docket, however, according to court records and Whig archives.

In the case against Robert Hammond, a judge rendered a mid-trial judgment of acquittal in August, after Robert Hammond’s defense lawyer successfully argued that prosecutors had failed to meet their burden of proof.

The victims

Capt. Joseph Zurolo, an EPD spokesman, reported that officers and paramedics rushed to the 100 block of Huntsman Drive, a townhouse community adjacent to Hollingsworth Manor, at approximately 3 p.m. after someone called 911 concerning shootings that had occurred moments earlier.

Officers found three victims at the scene – a 25-year-old man who was shot in the back, a 6-year-old boy who was shot in his left knee and a 31-year-old woman who suffered a “superficial wound” to her foot, according to Zurolo.

The man was taken to Christiana Hospital in Delaware, while paramedics took the boy to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., Zurolo said. Both suffered what investigators described as “non-life-threatening” wounds, he added. Both were listed in stable condition Monday night.

After paramedics treated the woman’s graze gunshot wound to her foot at the scene, she refused further medical attention, Zurolo reported.

The bullet went through the man’s back, fracturing his “spinal area,” and exited his body, and the bullet that struck the boy lodged inside his knee, court records show.

“(The man) was bleeding profusely at the scene. The 6-year-old juvenile was shot in his left knee and was also bleeding profusely. A tourniquet was applied to the juvenile’s leg on scene, in an effort to prevent the juvenile from bleeding out and dying. In the most recent update, the juvenile was going into surgery for the injury and the extraction of the bullet that was lodged in his knee,” according to court records.

The shootings

Investigators learned that the shootings occurred outside 122 Huntsman Dr., with the suspects shooting indiscriminately into that townhouse from a grassy alleyway between 122 and 124 Huntsman Drive.

Video gleaned from a home-security camera at 122 Huntsman Drive revealed that five suspects were involved in the shootings – Holland, Sayer and the three Hammond family members, all of whom police officers were able to identify through “previous encounters” with them, court records allege.

“It appeared that that (Holland, Robert Hammond, Cody Hammond and Crystal Hammond) were all walking on Huntsman Drive, in the roadway adjacent to the residence, just prior to the shooting, in an agitated manner,” according to charging documents.

Then the video shows Cody Hammond, Robert Hammond and Holland walking into the grassy alleyway between 122 and 124 Huntsman Drive, all the while “holding their pockets in an apparent attempt to hold a firearm,” court records show.

“(Robert Hammond and Holland) can be seen holding a firearm in their hands immediately prior to the shooting. The three suspects (including Cody Hammond) go out of camera range, just as shots are seen striking the residence, with debris and damage occurring on the exterior of the residence,” court records allege.

In an EPD press release issued Tuesday afternoon, Zurolo outlines, “The investigation would reveal, Robert Hammond, Cody Hammond, and Jason Holland, took up a position just outside of 122 Huntsman Drive and began to fire rounds into the house indiscriminately.”

In the early stages of the on-scene investigation, officers also learned that Crystal Hammond had conspired to commit the shootings, according to Zurolo.

Loaded gun, drugs found

The video shows Robert Hammond, Cody Hammond and Holland running away from the scene — heading toward their residence in the 100 block of Cow lane, police said. Sayer also took that same route while running away, while carrying a backpack, police added.

“An anonymous source advised police that (Sayers) hid the backpack behind 20 Hollingsworth Manor, near a shed. The backpack was located and a loaded gun was found inside, as well as suspected heroin. Within the backpack (were) 18 bags of suspected heroin stamped ‘Cash App’ and a small amount of marijuana,” court records allege.

Additionally, according to charging documents, Sayers is a “known affiliate of Robert (Hammond) and Cody (Hammond) through interactions with police, and pictures located on Facebook. Officers with the Elkton Police Department are familiar with the five named suspects and have had multiple cases involving drugs, firearms and assaults in the past few months.”

Investigators also reported in court records that officers are aware Robert Hammond, Cody Hammond and Holland are frequently at 103 Cow Ln., with Crystal Hammond.

Four suspects arrested

Shortly after the triple-shooting, witnesses who were in the area told investigators that they saw Hammond and Holland enter 103 Cow Ln., prompting officers to set up a perimeter to secure the residence, block off nearby roads and apply for a search warrant – which was granted – for that residence, according to police and court records.

Early on, officers “called out to whomever was in the house and Crystal Hammond and Cody Hammond exited the residence,” and they were taken into custody, police said, adding, “Officers also believed Robert Hammond was still inside the residence.”

What followed was an hours-long standoff at that Cow Lane residence and another nearby location, which Zurolo declined to specify. The standoff extended well into Monday night.

“Due to the nature of this event and the propensity for violence, the Maryland State Police State Team was called out and responded. They took over the tactical portion of this event and were able to talk Robert Hammond out of the residence, and Robert was taken into custody and placed under arrest,” reported Zurolo, who did not specify a time for when Hammond surrendered to police.

Officers later located Sayers in the area of 122 Huntsman Dr., where the shootings had occurred, and took him into custody in connection with the handgun and heroin found in his discarded backpack and “information gleaned” that Sayer had conspired with the other suspects, police reported.

While conducting a court-approved search inside 103 Cow Ln., officers found and confiscated 74 baggies containing suspect heroin and bearing the street stamps “Donald Trump” and “Cash App,” according to court records, which further allege that investigators also found suspect methamphetamine, a small amount of marijuana and $644.

“The amount of (drugs) found was far more than personal use, and believed to be being distributed by Robert Hammond and, or, Crystal Hammond, due to the evidence being found within the residence,” according to charging documents.

Protracted barricade situations

During the barricade situations, scores of law enforcement officers and police vehicles were present throughout the Hollingsworth Manor neighborhood and its nearby surrounding area.

Law enforcement officers cordoned off expansive outside areas with yellow police tape, blocked nearby roads and set up a perimeter around each location where the suspects were believed to be, according to Zurolo.

EPD officers were assisted by Cecil County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Maryland State Police troopers and members of the STATE team, a tactical squad that is similar to a S.W.A.T. team.

About three hours into the barricade situation at 103 Cow Lane, an MSP armored vehicle with a tactical team member on top – holding a long gun at the ready, positioned behind a barrier and wearing a uniform and protective gear akin to a soldier in battle – maneuvered close to that house. At one point, other armed tactical team members were positioned behind that armored vehicle.

Several other armed tactical team members, dressed the same way, could be seen moving from spot to spot on foot, as they took positions around that house. They could be seen at various spots, including behind an exterior wall of an outbuilding and behind a vehicle.

Because purported gunmen were on the loose after the shootings, EPD officials used a “reverse 911” call to caution people who live nearby to avoid the area and to shelter in place, according to Zurolo, who further reported Monday night that there is “no threat to the general public.”

Charging documents indicated that law enforcement officers were concerned that “the suspects could have firearms still in their possession.”

Small crowds of people stood near long stretches of yellow police tape, which cordoned off sprawling sections of the crime and barricade scenes in that neighborhood. Many of the onlookers simply watched as the police operation unfolded, while others videotaped the scene with cell phones. Law enforcement officers moved the people back to the other end of a street at one point. Shortly after the armored vehicle arrived on Cow Lane, officers ordered the onlookers to move back even farther away from the scene.

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