WOC Man Charged After Showing Phony Gun

WEST OCEAN CITY – A West Ocean City man was arrested on first-degree assault and other serious charges after allegedly flashing what later turned out to be a replica handgun at a Maryland State Police trooper during a confrontation late last Saturday.

Around 11:30 p.m. last Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper, working overtime in West Ocean City as part of a holiday weekend drunk-driving enforcement initiative, observed a man, later identified as Joshua Aaron Baker of West Ocean City, sitting on a moped in the middle of Old Ocean City Rd., or Route 707, without its lights on. The trooper made an attempt to stop Baker for questioning at which point the suspect attempted to flee the scene.

The trooper was eventually able to detain Baker, but while approaching the suspect, the officer observed Baker to be in possession of what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol in his hand. However, further investigation revealed the weapon was a black, plastic replica or toy gun with a brown handle. The trooper was close enough to Baker to believe the gun was real and a scuffle ensued with the suspect. No one was injured during the altercation nor were any shots fired from what later turned out to be a replica gun.

Baker was ultimately arrested and charged with first-degree assault and assault on a police officer. A search incident to the arrest revealed Baker was in possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and paraphernalia and additional charges were tacked on.

During Baker’s arrest, numerous patrons of the nearby 707 Sports Bar exited the establishment to witness what was going on and were confronted by Baker, who was yelling racial slurs and profanity at the gathering crowd in the predominantly residential West Ocean City neighborhood. In the end, Baker was charged additionally with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Baker is certainly no stranger to local law enforcement or the court system. He is currently a registered sex offender in Worcester County with a shaky record of compliance. For example, in June 2008, he was found guilty of failing to register as a sex offender and was sentenced to three years in jail with all but two months suspended. More recently, Baker was found guilty last July of failing to notify authorities of an address change and was sentenced to 18 months, most of which was suspended.