Madeleine Benda was getting ready to leave the Apartments at Sunset complex, where she lives, to pick up her boyfriend from work at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when she heard nine or 10 gunshots outside her first-floor apartment.

When she stepped outside a moment later to cautiously make her way to her car, she found herself staring at a chilling crime scene just across the parking lot.

“As I got in my car I saw the passenger’s side of the [silver] car was open and I guess the person who was attacking the guy in the car had shot through the driver’s side window because there was glass everywhere, the window was shattered,” Benda said. “And you could see [a man] in the car moving a little bit in the driver’s seat, but he was obviously seriously injured.”

The man, later identified as 30-year-old Frederick resident Gregory Allen Bair Knight, had suffered gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a press release issued Friday morning by the Frederick Police Department.

Benda also caught a glimpse of the second victim, a 27-year-old woman who was a passenger in the car who was also shot multiple times.

“She was still in the car, yelling and screaming,” Benda said.

Fortunately, Frederick police arrived almost immediately, Benda said, saying the first officer was already at the complex when she walked out and saw the gruesome scene.

Police treated the injured woman at the scene until emergency medical personnel arrived and she was flown to a trauma center in a Maryland State Police helicopter. The woman remained in serious but stable condition Friday, but the department was not releasing her identity, said Sgt. Andrew Alcorn, supervisor of the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

Detectives collected evidence and talked to potential witnesses through the night, but Alcorn wouldn’t elaborate Friday afternoon, saying it was too early to discuss the case in detail.

“I can say that we did a thorough processing of the crime scene, including the vehicle that they were in, so now we’re at the stage where we’ve got to process all of that information, then move forward from there,” the sergeant said.

Police also declined to speculate on potential suspects or what motivated the shooting, with Alcorn citing both the early stage of the case and the wounded woman’s condition. Detectives were still waiting for the woman to recover enough for them to speak to her and hopefully learn more about the shooting, Alcorn said.

Detectives were confident enough to say that Thursday night’s violence did not seem random.

“The victims, and specifically the male, he, at least, to the best of our knowledge, was the intended target,” Alcorn said. “Generally speaking, we do not believe there is a threat to the public. The individuals who were hit were directly targeted.”

Benda said she was comforted by how quickly the police responded as well as their statement that the crime did not appear to be random, but she still expressed concern that such a violent crime happened so close. Benda mentioned several other crimes that have occurred recently leading up to Thursday’s shooting.

“Ever since my car was stolen in December, I’ve never really felt safe living there. I’ve lived in ... Frederick for a long time and I know there’s crime here, but this event now made me feel totally uncomfortable,” Benda said, adding that she also regularly sees teens and others trying to break into cars in the apartment complex parking lot. “I have an understanding that crime has no ZIP code, it has no borders. However, seeing a murder? I’ve never experienced anything like that. ... I definitely cannot continue living there feeling this unsafe.”

Gail Bradley, who has lived in a house less than a block away from the Apartments at Sunset for about 20 years, said she has noticed that more crimes tend to occur in the apartment complexes than in the rest of the neighborhood. Bradley is also one of the coordinators of Neighborhood Advisory Council 7, which encompasses the apartment complex and the surrounding area.

“There have been gunshots over there before, but it doesn’t really come into our community. It stays in the apartment complex,” Bradley said.

Still, Bradley said Thursday’s violence was not characteristic of either the neighborhood or the apartment complex, saying that her daughter once considered moving into the complex.

“They’re good neighbors, I don’t see that apartment complex as a problem at all,” Bradley said. “I think it was random and I think it was a one-off. I don’t think it’s indicative of the neighborhood or the apartments at all.”

A woman who answered a reporter’s call seeking comment from the apartment complex earlier Friday said that she would forward inquiries and the reporter’s contact information to a manager for comment. A manager had not returned the call as of Friday evening.

Anyone who either witnessed the shooting or can otherwise provide more information to the police is asked to call Detective Doug Ames at 240-674-6811. Tips can also be left anonymously by calling the department’s tips line at 301-600-8477 (TIPS), sent via text to 240-674-8477 (TIPS) or in an email to fpdcrimetip@frederickmd police.org.

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime.

Jeremy Arias is the Frederick city and government reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(25) comments

Anonymous1122334455

@FrederickCity1983, the person who ran over, stabbed and beat two victims who he claimed were robbing him was actually charged with VOLUNTARY Manslaughter, which is different than negligent homicide. Might want to look up the difference. Negligent Homicide refers to an unintentional killing that results from criminal negligence or recklessness, or from committing an offense such as a DUI. It differs from voluntary manslaughter in that the victim's death is unintended..., just saying.... If you need to verify the charge look up, Delajhi Joyner on MD case search.

awteam2000

Frederick City crime status for the last seven year show a different trend. I couldn’t find stats for Frederick County crime for the same period by the sheriff’s office. https://www.cityoffrederick.com/484/Crime-Stats

KellyAlzan

The city, without a doubt has had more shootings in the last 9 months than ever before. Whether it’s been ransoms shots fired and no one struck, or been murders. No report needed. The weekely occurrences reported in the FNP say it all

KellyAlzan

Message to Jeremy Arais: So, the FPD is asking for information from the public on this shooting. How come you have not done a follow up news story about the homicide that occurred at Cactus Flats Halloween 2018? How come you have not shared with the community as to where things stand with the Cactus homicide?

Comment deleted.
gabrielshorn2013

While I don't disagree KR999, it might be that there is yet another Federal probe into the 1%, that this case is a part of. If so, I wouldn't be surprised at the dearth of information provided to the public.

KR999

Whatever the reason, gabe, it's common knowledge that law enforcement agencies don't publicly discuss ongoing investigations. Kelly has claimed to have family members in law enforcement and should know that, but continually rags about the status of this investigation. Which tells me that he/she doesn't have a clue about criminal investigations. That, combined with the fact that he/she refuses to answer the questions I posed, simply verifies that he/she is completely bogus.

gabrielshorn2013

You are correct KR999. When an arrest is made, Law Enforcement will make the appropriate announcements. It makes no sense to divulge details of ongoing investigations. Continually badgering them does not make this, or any case move faster.

KR999

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] gabe.

KellyAlzan

Cd - I’m sorry my post is causing you so much distress.

KellyAlzan

“That, combined with the fact that he/she refuses to answer the questions I posed, simply verifies that he/she is completely bogus.” I’m terribly sorry for your distress. Hugs and prayers?

Roboticbrady

What is this obsession with cactus flats and you? People get shot/stabbed/whatever - things happen and it's very hard to solve some crimes. It's an absolute dump of a bar with really sketchy clientele during Fri/Sat. Things happen when you mix that with alcohol.

KellyAlzan

The sheriff’s office has gone mum and closed the case, according to the victim’s ex wife. As if, the homicide didn’t happen.

KR999

"according to the victim’s ex wife." Nothing like unsubstantiated here say, huh? Why don't you contact the FCSO yourself to verify it, if it means so much to you? Seems to me you're the one in distress with this fixation on the case that you have so badly. You really should try to chill for a bit, hon.

elymus43

Frederick city is getting to be more like Baltimore and Washington,DC everyday?? See what the housing boom created.

sevenstones1000

You need to spend some time living in a big city if you think this is in any way comparable.

KellyAlzan

Seven - people live here to avoid a big city. And to avoid gun fire. You’re missing the point

DickD

Livable Frederick? The Frederick City Police are very good. Give them the credit they deserve, but they cannot stop crime everywhere. Most likely this killing is related to drugs.

mmmgeisbert

Do we have “shots fired” as a daily occurrence now in Frederick, MD? This is our hometown, folks! Murder is not what Frederick, Maryland represents to those of us who have grown up here and it needs to stop! No sense in worrying about plastic trash bags!!! We’re now worrying about body bags!!!!

mr_twist27

As some that has grown up here you should know that crime was much worse in the 90's and early 2000. 1 murder in Frederick and you are acting like it's a war zone.

mcf35fan

Remember there was a murder at a funeral a few months ago. Last year the guy killed a woman and a guy . stabbed and run them over

FrederickCity1983

The person at the funeral was shot but not killed, the people who were stabbed and run over were robbing the guy who did it, he was only found guilty of negligent homicide of only one of the robbers.

Dwasserba

"We" lived in other cities sidestepping drama we weren't a part of anymore than this. There are several possible scenarios no one can control because they belong to other people. There may be relationships we are unaware of. In any case, the danger in this particular instance seems to be contained. Safety in general is an illusion we construct to leave the house.

KellyAlzan

Multiple shots fired. Happening in broad daylight. Too brazen.

KellyAlzan

My bad, it happened at 9:30. I thought it happened earlier

gblairgib2

To Jeremy @ FNP: ...and several pieces of evidence was collected. Pieces is the subject here (not evidence, which is the object of the prep. of) -- needs a plural, third-person agreement -- Several pieces were collected.

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