Heather Ridge Shooting

Frederick police crime scene supervisor Sabrina Swann collects evidence along Heather Ridge Drive on Tuesday afternoon after a shooting.

Robert Smith was sitting on the front steps of his house in the 300 block of Heather Ridge Drive shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday when a series of gunshots shattered the quiet of the residential block.

Smith, who has lived in the area for only a short time, said he had been watching a man getting back into his car parked on the street in front of his home when another car heading north on the street from Taney Avenue pulled up next to the first car.

“He was parked right here, then the other guy pulled up his car beside him and shot him in his arm,” Smith said, gesturing to the street. “You can see the blood out there in the street.”

What appeared to be a small bloodstain wet the pavement in the street near the end of Smith’s driveway where, just a few minutes before 12:50 p.m., Frederick police officers and crime scene technicians had packed up a handful of yellow evidence markers. Smith said he heard three or four gunshots and then both cars headed north toward the apartment buildings on the northern loop of Heather Ridge Drive.

While police could not provide many details of the shooting Tuesday afternoon, Lt. Kirk Henneberry, commander of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division, confirmed some aspects of Smith’s account.

“We do know there was a vehicle the victim had parked in that area and we do know that the victim did drive himself to [Frederick Memorial Hospital],” Henneberry said. “And we also know that the suspect also fled in a vehicle.”

City police were notified of the shooting by neighbors who called 911. Police caught up with the injured man after he arrived at the hospital for treatment of two gunshot wounds to his upper body, Henneberry said. The lieutenant confirmed that detectives had talked to the injured man at the hospital, but Henneberry did not disclose what, if anything, was discussed.

Police were not ruling out the possibility that Tuesday’s shooting was somehow linked to another shooting that left four people injured in the 600 block of North Market Street early Saturday, but it was too early to say, Henneberry said.

“They happened just a few days apart, so it definitely threw up a few red flags for that reason, but it’s just something we’re looking into at this point,” Henneberry said. “One thing I can say at this point is that we don’t believe [Tuesday’s shooting victim] was randomly attacked; it doesn’t appear this was a random incident that could have happened to anybody.”

Monocacy middle and elementary, Heather Ridge School, Gov. Thomas Johnson High School and the Career and Technology Center were on partial lockdown as a precaution for about 30 minutes as a result of the shooting, according to an announcement from the schools.

The sudden police activity also startled residents, several of whom stood around the edges of the yellow police tape while detectives worked and knocked on doors to talk with neighbors who live closer to where the shooting occurred.

“I’ve been here for 11 years, over 11 years, and I walk the dogs up and down this street four times a day, at least four times a day, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Eric Blank, who said he didn’t know anything until he noticed a police vehicle blocking the end of his street at Taney Avenue. “It’s a quiet neighborhood where everybody sticks mostly to themselves. It’s a different story further up by the apartments, but down here this is unheard of.”

Another longtime resident, Margaret Morris, agreed with Blank’s assessment as she stood next to him watching police tear down evidence tape and pack up.

“I hope this is just a once-in-a-lifetime thing, because I plan to be here for a long, long time,” she said. “We’ve been here for 30 years. This is our home.”

Anyone who witnessed anything unusual in the area or who believes they can otherwise help police investigate the shooting was asked to call Detective Dave Dewees at 240-409-0280. Tips can also be left anonymously by calling the department’s tip line, 301-600-8477 (TIPS), sent by text to 240-674-8477 (TIPS) or via email to fpdcrimetip@frederickmdpolice.com.

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime.

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

(52) comments


40,000 Americans die each year by gun related deaths. That’s unacceptable. It’s time to do something about gun safety and gun control.


And again I will ask you aw...what is that? Give us the "hows" that do not violate the 2A, 4A, and 5A. You should not include suicides in your numbers, because that is a mental health issue. BTW, what was the suicide rate in Australia before and after their "gun ban"? Also, weren't you just saying below that we are much safer now than we were 20 some years ago? Seems a tad incongruent.


On Sep 4, 2019 @ 6:32am, jcjkeckler wrote:

"Mrnatural, it is very unsettling when violent crime occurs in our community and it is easy to speculate the reasons why it is happening. Aside from reading FNP for 25-30 years, I was a Frederick Police officer for 22 years from 1994 to 2016 and I can tell you factually that violent crime is significantly less than it was a couple decades ago. Shootings, robberies and assaults were frequent in the 90's until open air drug markets were shut down. The reality is crime will always be around in every community. The key to limiting or reducing that crime is education, outreach, prevention and enforcement strategies that involve working with our citizens. FPD does that as well as any agency out there.

One last thought. The reason people for years have expressed concerns that Frederick may become like Baltimore, D.C., P.G. or Montgomery County is because they realize just how good we have it here. Rather than worry about what we could become, maybe we should appreciate what we have and try to make it better?"

First of all, thank you for your service.

Secondly, to be clear, my comments are not meant to disparage the FPD in any way.

My main point is that rural areas and small towns tend to be much safer than large urban areas. The *rate* of violent crime is lower. Frederick used to be a sleepy farm town, now it is officially part of the D.C./Baltimore metro area. It is not surprising that with that growth comes an increase in the crime rate -- and a further reduction in our quality of life.

You would know better than I, but I believe there was a spike in violent crime about 20-25 years ago. The rampant residential sprawl had already begun. I am referring to before the destruction began in earnest -- prior to 30-35 years ago.

I am familiar with the crime stats -- at least those that I was able to find online -- but they do not go back that far.

What I remember was that in the 1980s and earlier, shootings, stabbings, rapes, etc were all but unheard of. Now they are relatively commonplace.

If someone has the time and inclination to go back and review the FNP from (say) the late 1970s and/or early '80s, I'd be happy to review whatever they find. I'll be surprised however if there were an equal number crimes compared to what there are today -- let alone more. Granted, if the crime rate remained the same, we would expect to see (say) double the number of violent crimes with a doubling of population. I'm saying that the *rate* was lower 30-35+ years ago.

Like it or not, growth and development has brought serious problems to Frederick County. It has been negative for most people -- other than those lining their pockets.

"Making Frederick better" starts with stopping any further growth.


On Sep 4, 2019 @ 7:58am, shiftless wrote:

"Mrnatural; why theorize and spread disinformation instead of looking up the actual stats (which show that your theory is incorrect)? It takes just a few minutes and will make you better informed. Reading the paper every day is not a good statistical tool for analyzing crime trends."


It is not "disinformation". You can no more disprove my theory than I can prove it (at this point).

There are many times more violent crimes -- shootings, stabbings, rapes -- being reported by the FNP now than there were 30+ years ago -- more than can be accounted for by the increase in population.

Just today, of the top 5 headlines from the FNP, two (2) were about shootings. Yes, that's anecdotal, but it is also ironic, given the claims from some people that Frederick is an almost crime-free paradise -- Mayberry north.

What we would need to do is go through the FNP articles from say 30-35 years ago and compare them to today. Until that's been done, my theory has not been proven or disproved.

No one disputes the fact that the overwhelming majority of rural areas and small towns are safer than urban areas. It's safe to say that's a fact. Frederick used to be a small to mid-sized town. It no longer is. With that growth comes a disproportionate amount of violent crime.


Here’s the crime report for the state of Maryland since 1975, I including Frederick County crimes over that time frame. Actually murders rates were much higher in numbers and as a % of population in the 80’s and 90’s.

Violent Crime & Property Crime by County: 1975 to Present , Scroll down the data table to Frederick County.



Mrnatural; You are confusing absolute numbers with rates. And you are confusing FNP reporting with actual police crime statistics.


Let’s face it there’s way too many guns and gun violence in America; street crime, suicides and mass shootings. Why wouldn’t a responsible gun owner want to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands? Something needs to be done or matters will only get worse.

It’s time to get serious. Let’s start at the source. The weapons themselves. First, there is no need for semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines for public Consumption. Second, technologies are already available to prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands; registration of fire arms, gps tracking, finger proof firearms all would limit wrongful use. Third, mental health.

There’s more that can be done without violating one’s 2nd amendment rights.


Let me fix your first statement for you aw. “IN MY OPINION there is no need for semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines…” In my opinion I have every reason to own one for competitive shooting, varmint eradication, and for home protection if need be. I have asked several times for someone to tell me the difference, other than cosmetic, between an AR15, a Ruger Mini14, and a Remington 597. All are semiautomatic, can take high capacity magazines (greater than 10 rounds), and fire the same caliber bullet, one at a time, yet two would be perfectly legal under a ban, but one would not. Why is that? You will never outlaw and collect 20 million modern sporting rifles, such as the AR platform. Every time a ban is proposed, the sales of these firearms goes through the roof. If you want to ban all semi-automatic firearms to get around that issue, half of all firearms sold are semi-automatic, therefore about 200 million. Your voluntary compliance rate among owners will be just about zero. How will you go about finding who has them, and then confiscating them without 4A and 5A issues? Firearm registration? Voluntary registration of over 400 million firearms that are currently in the US will never happen. Maybe you can going forward, but you will have several Constitutional issues regarding the 2A, and any database you make, or any fee you may charge. You will still have over 400 million unregistered firearms in circulation. Technologies? Any of the technologies you just listed are easily defeated by the criminal element if it is stolen by removing the GPS or chip. Not sure what a “finger proof gun” is, but if you mean the “special ring gun”, again, easily defeated by removing the mechanism from the handle. Guns are just not that technologically advanced in their operation for such “tech” to apply. Your third point, mental health? Now you are getting somewhere. For that to work, all states must, under penalty of Federal law, report this information to the NICS system. Many do not report their information regarding mentally ill people into the NICS , not even Maryland, even though it falls under 18 USC 922 d(4), which states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;”. Like I said below, it is easy to come up with the “shoulds”, but difficult to come up with the “hows”.


I have shot varmints, shot targets and protected my home all without a semi-automatic weapon. So it is not "needed" in the sense of "required". You DESIRE one, but do not need one to accomplish the task.


With all due respect shiftless, it's not a "Bill of Needs", or a "Bill of Wants". It's called the Bill of Rights. When you figure out a way to get around that, then you can tell me, and others, what we need and do not need to participate in the activities that we do. Each of my firearms have certain characteristics that serve a particular purpose, just like the clubs in your golf bag (if you play). I prefer to play with a full bag, thanks. All a semi-auto does is reloads for me without taking my eyes off the target. The AR platform is the ideal firearm for target shooting because of it's low felt recoil, and lack of "climb" after a shot. Same goes for a follow-up shot for varmints because the target remains acquired. It is also the firearm that I compete with in competitions around the East Coast. It even has its own category (see https://arc.nra.org/). My other semi-autos are for deer hunting, and waterfowl hunting. BTW, can you tell me the difference between an AR15, a Ruger Mini14, and a Remington 597 other than cosmetics? Nobody has stepped up yet.


“Well regulated”.


Aw, google "2A well regulated" to see what that really means. It meant equipped. It does not mean that you can pass any law you'd like to restrict firearm access. I posted this before, with links. Did you miss it?


In 2008, the Court in a 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller held that a D.C. law that restricted unlicensed functional HANDGUNS within homes violated the Second Amendment. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the Heller majority opinion. “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home,” But to the problem of gun violence in this country, Scalia followed by saying “The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, INCLUDING SOME MEASURES REGULATING GUNS.”


I know of no impediment in the 2A that prevents banning/restricting of semi-automatic weapons. It was done with automatic weapons.


Shiftless, read up on the national firearms act of 1934, and the gun control act of 1968, and US v Miller 1939. Automatic weapons, sawed off shotguns, and the like were not considered to be in common use, and were made illegal without registration and paying a $200 fee. The hurdle is the term "common use". Since half of all firearms sold are now semi-automatic, therefore putting the number around 200 million, you say that these firearms are not in "common use"? Heller and McDonald already say no. Then there are so-called "assault weapons", which are no different than other semi-automatic rifles. Did you figure out the differences of the ones I asked you about? So, there are an estimated 20 million of those, and every time a ban is proposed the stock of the companies making them soars, because the demand skyrockets. Are you saying that 20 million of ANYTHING does not constitute "common usage"? They will never be banned at the Federal level. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time that state bans fall because of the overarching opinion in McDonald that the 2A applies to the states.


And aw, there have been several other cases since 2008, including McDonald that further clarified the types of firearms that may be kept, leading to many states and cities like DC to ease or drop their restrictions altogether. Please read the article by Cortland Milloy in the WaPo a week ago regarding The District's firearm laws.


Comment deleted.



Frederick county is a safe haven sanctuary county for thug gang bangers.


Too many guns. And too easy to get.


Nope nice try though.


Not legally aw. Try to buy a pistol from a licensed dealer nowadays. After fingerprinting to get your license to possess a handgun there is a second background check, then a waiting period before you take possession. Buying one at a gun show is no different. Illegal handguns are easier to obtain for someone who doesn't care about the law.


The mass shooter in Odessa, Tx made a legally private purchase without background check of a simi-automatic weapon, a person-to-person sale, allowing him to avoid a background check. Loop-hole. Right?


I was talking about Maryland aw. The Odessa whackjob had previously failed a background check, and was not legally able to obtain a firearm. Therefore he knowingly bought his firearm ILLEGALLY. Yes, in a perfect world, the seller would have done a NICS check. I sure would. How do you propose that this be enforced? Firearm registration? Good luck with that aw. What do you think the compliance rate among currently law-abiding citizens will be? You already know what the compliance rate for criminals will be.

Furthermore 18 USC 922 (d) states the following:

(d)It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—

(1)is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

(2)is a fugitive from justice;

(3)is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));

(4)has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;

(5)who, being an alien—

(A)is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or

(B)except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));

(6)who [2] has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;

(7)who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;

(8)is subject to a court order that restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child, except that this paragraph shall only apply to a court order that—

(A)was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had the opportunity to participate; and


(i)includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or

(ii)by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or

(9)has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

This subsection shall not apply with respect to the sale or disposition of a firearm or ammunition to a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector who pursuant to subsection (b) of section 925 of this chapter is not precluded from dealing in firearms or ammunition, or to a person who has been granted relief from disabilities pursuant to subsection (c) of section 925 of this chapter.

Therefore, by not asking these questions, the seller has a serious legal liability. Not asking is not an option. Loophole? No. If the seller is traced, will he be punished? Probably not, but this carries a 10 year jail term.


Unfortunately guns legally or illegally acquired are brought into Maryland everyday. More has to be done.


Like what aw? Keeping in mind 2A, 4A, and 5A considerations. Listing the easy "shoulds" without considering the difficult "hows" is only half the job.


But gab, once again, legal guns and people who care about the Law are not the problem. Underage kids, criminals, mentally ill persons who can EASILY, ANONYMOUSLY, obtain ILLEGAL guns are the problem. Current gun laws, thanks to the NRA, do not address bad people getting illegal, anonymous guns and guns of mass destruction. That is the problem we must have National Legislation to attempt to reduce the blight of gun violence in America and that is what the overwhelming majority of Americans want.


phy, please read everything I have posted in this thread and and then answer the questions. Like I said, it is easy to come up with the "shoulds", but much tougher to come up with the difficult "hows". I have posted links to the Federal laws here several times. Have you bothered to read them? If so, you will already know that it is illegal to sell a firearm to a minor. You say the laws aren't working, and I say they aren't being enforced, nor is the database populated as it must be to work properly. Any juvenile caught with a firearm must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, including their seller. How many juveniles will roll on the person that sold them the gun? It's a 10 year prison stretch for selling to a minor, and that sentence may not be served concurrently with any other. How many people that fail a NICS background check are ever prosecuted for providing false information, and are then caught by the system? There tens of thousands per year, but you don't hear of many prosecutions, do you? Why is that?

What do you propose that would guarantee compliance, and not violate the 2A, 4A, and 5A? Registration of 400 million firearms will never happen, nor will confiscation of 20 million modern sporting rifles, let alone the estimated 200 million semi-automatic forearms, including pistols Here are more references for you:






Here’s “how” gab....https://www.inverse.com/article/58447-what-gun-control-actually-works

I read your links, I saw nothing that said National Gun Registration with Transfer Laws wouldn’t help. I have answered every question you have asked me numerous times, in detail if they were reasonable, which many were not. Reading existing laws is a waste of time, they obviously don’t work. The link I provided above discusses Gun Laws that have worked well in jurisdictions that have implemented them. And bottom line, the long proven fact is that Countries with the strictest Gun Laws have the least Gun Violence.....by far!!


Phy, do you HONESTLY think there will be much compliance if there is mandatory registration when there are 400 million legal firearms out there, and God knows how many illegal ones? Which of my questions were not reasonable? They may have involved some research and thought on your part, but they were hardly unreasonable. So I guess we're at a stalemate as a society, and nothing is going to change. Again, I provide you with links to the laws and evidence that they are not being enforced, and you still think they dont work. SMH.


Very interesting article phy, and there is a lot of common ground in the suggestions. One of the issues was under prosecution of felonies as misdemeanors. That is the fault of the justice system(s), not the law itself. However, I agree, violent people should be kept from acquiring firearms, so violent misdemeanors should also count against someone's ability to acquire firearms. That keeps them from legally getting a gun.


These shootings and other violent crimes are becoming a regular occurrence.

With the drastic and destructive increase in the population of FredCo, we would expect to see a significant increase in crime, even if the crime *rate* stayed the same.

However, what we are experiencing cannot be accounted for simply due to the % increase in population over the last 30 years or so. Something else is at play.

One theory would be that there are simply TOO MANY PEOPLE in FredCo. A (relatively) sudden increase in population has taken Frederick from a sleepy farm town where most people knew each other to just another exurb for commuters. The sense of community has been lost.


Do you have the statistics to back up your viewpoint? They do exist. But Frederick city has been way beyond "most people know each other" for decades. And besides, it seems like much of the violent crime has been between people who knew each other.



You'll notice I said one *theory* would be.

The crime stats I've seen indicate that we are living in Mayberry -- but I think we all know that ain't true.

Anyone who has read the FNP for 25-30 years or more knows that incidents of violent crime are much more common now than they were just a few decades ago.

Beyond that, it is common knowledge that rural areas and small towns are generally much safer than large metropolitan areas. Unfortunately, Frederick is being swallowed up by Baltimore and D.C. and we're suffering the consequences.


Mrnatural, it is very unsettling when violent crime occurs in our community and it is easy to speculate the reasons why it is happening. Aside from reading FNP for 25-30 years, I was a Frederick Police officer for 22 years from 1994 to 2016 and I can tell you factually that violent crime is significantly less than it was a couple decades ago. Shootings, robberies and assaults were frequent in the 90's until open air drug markets were shut down. The reality is crime will always be around in every community. The key to limiting or reducing that crime is education, outreach, prevention and enforcement strategies that involve working with our citizens. FPD does that as well as any agency out there.

One last thought. The reason people for years have expressed concerns that Frederick may become like Baltimore, D.C., P.G. or Montgomery County is because they realize just how good we have it here. Rather than worry about what we could become, maybe we should appreciate what we have and try to make it better?


Mrnatural; why theorize and spread disinformation instead of looking up the actual stats (which show that your theory is incorrect)? It takes just a few minutes and will make you better informed. Reading the paper every day is not a good statistical tool for analyzing crime trends.

Comment deleted.

Dumb comment move along


Sue, just out of curiosity, where are low income working people who are law abiding people supposed to live? Because there isn't a lot of affordable housing in Frederick. Get your head out of the sand. Stop being part of the problem by being so judgmental and start being part of the solution by showing a little care and compassion for people in unsafe circumstances due to the fact they can't make enough money to take care of their families.


Part of the problem? Sue is part of the problem for calling it as it is, and has been for a while? Maybe you should get out of the suburbs for once and stop enabling the problem. That won't happen because you see things one way and everyone else is wrong and part of the problem. If you haven't opened your eyes by now, you never will.


what exactly is your point? that low income housing simply shouldn't exist and the working poor should live on the streets? is that what people should "open their eyes" to? or are you being intentionally vague because you know you can't come out and say what you *really* want to?


Plenty of affordable housing in Frederick.


There's been serious crime in that area for quite a long time. How's that promotion of low-income housing working, county officials? Oh, yeah, just justify and comfort yourselves that crime can (and does) happen anywhere.


Good point sue.[thumbup]


Thank you, KR/CD. Couldn't write earlier. I spent much of the day carving new ones of the low-life scum in Baltimore who think it was fun to neglect and abuse my bedridden and unable to talk daughter. People commenting in some of these articles have no clue as to what reality is out there.


The reality out there is that the crime rate has decreased a factor of 3 since 2001. The imply otherwise is disinformation


So someone's income, or lack thereof, is indicative of their criminal tendencies? That's quite a revelation!


Delusional as always Sue .


Capitano, you want to live where an area goes downhill? I've seen it happen. I was assaulted in Bladensburg in 1972 (where I lived). Don't tell ME about it. Mrnatural has some articulate comments on the subject, in general, about the wrong element and crime coming to Frederick. I saw the downfall of SE Washington decades ago. In more recent years, I've seen Gaithersburg and Germantown turn from upscale areas to crime-ridden locations. Go ahead. Try moving to Stanton Road in NE or SE and enjoy living among them since you think you know it all.


Who are the "them" you are referring to, Sue?




The article quotes long-time residents saying it is generally a safe neighborhood.


Agreed three. Those residents also said that the problems happened at the other end of the street near the apartments, not in their neighborhood.


This incident was observed and reported. That's what makes a neighborhood feel safe. It's when nobody knows anything and nobody saw anything and nobody calls 911 that the word "neighbor"hood no longer applies.

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