After weeks of silence, Frederick police announced the arrests of two men in connection with a shooting that left two students injured last month outside Frederick High School.
Brandon Earl Tyler, 21, and Chandler Tristan Davenport, 19, both of Frederick, were tied to the Feb. 4 shooting that took place during a junior varsity basketball game between Frederick and Gov. Thomas Johnson high schools, acting Police Chief Patrick Grossman said at a press conference held by police Wednesday morning to announce the arrests.
Tyler was held without bail while Davenport was ordered held on $2 million bail in a hearing Wednesday afternoon before Frederick County Circuit Judge Julie Stevenson Solt.
Police reiterated their initial belief that the two students wounded in the shooting were targeted by their attackers. Davenport lured the students outside where Tyler was waiting to shoot them, said Lt. Clark Pennington, a Frederick Police Department spokesman.
On Friday, both men were charged via a sealed grand jury indictment with four counts of first-degree assault, one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault, four counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a felony and four counts of reckless endangerment.
The men were taken into custody Tuesday.
The charges are related to the students who were struck and a school employee and another bystander who were in the direct line of fire and had to hide to avoid being struck, according to police.
The shooting was reported just outside the Frederick High School gymnasium at 8:11 p.m. Feb. 4, according to police reports. Police confirmed two students were wounded, but no names were released and the department remained tight-lipped regarding updates over the following weeks.
The first of the two injured students was released from the hospital within days of the shooting and Frederick High students returned to classes Feb. 6, wearing school colors and touting #FHSStrong on Twitter and social media accounts to show their support.
The second student was released a few days after the first, according to representatives from Johns Hopkins Hospital.
More than 200 people were interviewed by police at the scene of the shooting, and countless tips called in during the ensuing weeks were investigated by detectives, police said.
Although Pennington declined to comment on the cooperation police received from the students or specific details regarding their relationship to their attackers, prosecutor Lindell K. Angel said the shootings were gang-related during Tyler’s and Davenport’s bail review hearings.
“There is a real concern for public safety” and possible continuing violence in the community if Tyler and Davenport are released, Angel said.
She said police recovered seven .380-caliber shell casings in the area of the shooting.
“It’s astonishing that there were no other persons hurt,” she said.
Probation agent Jeremy Beck called Davenport “a verified gang member” who was on a heightened form of probation called the Violence Prevention Initiative for a prior second-degree assault case in which he fractured someone’s jaw with a beer bottle.
Beck also said that Davenport told the probation office last week that he planned to fly to Texas, but his request to travel was denied.
“He had a plane ticket to Dallas, Texas. Our office believes that he was planning on leaving and not coming back,” Beck said.
Assistant Public Defender Sean Mukherjee represented both men at the bail review hearings. He asked that they be released, noting that he had seen no physical evidence connecting either of them to the crime.
Mukherjee said that his client was not hiding plans to travel and the probation office knew about the plane ticket only because of Davenport’s honesty.
Tyler has no prior adult cases in the court system, but had one juvenile commitment for a second-degree assault case, Angel said.
Several public officials, including Frederick Mayor Randy McClement, attended Wednesday’s police press conference and addressed the topic of gangs after the charges were announced.
“We know that there are gangs out there. We have expertise in the field in our police department that on a daily basis monitor and watch gangs. We have not been shy about it,” McClement said. “We just are fairly fortunate so far, I think, in that the gangs here haven’t gotten to this level yet.”
County Executive Jan Gardner also applauded the police department’s efforts to crack down on gangs and crime in general. Gardner called out the work of school resource officers to keep tabs on students and larger societal issues in the school system.
“Certainly the issues that exist in our society do creep in to our schools and we have to address them in society, but I think our police sent a very strong message. If you’re involved in criminal activity, it’s their intent to arrest and prosecute,” Gardner said.
Pennington did not comment directly on whether any other people were believed to be involved in the shooting, saying only that the investigation remained open as of Wednesday. Anyone with further information is asked to contact police at 301-600-8477.