BERLIN — The Berlin Police Department has enlisted the help of a fugitive task force in its effort to locate the wanted man who eluded authorities after assaulting a police officer during a traffic stop on Wednesday.
Despite several hours of searching by foot and air, local law enforcement agencies have been unable to apprehend the suspect, who led police on a foot chase through the downtown district. When police lost visual of the man, an extensive ground and air search ensued over Berlin.
DaMar S. Collins, 26, is being sought after eluding police after the vehicle he was driving was pulled over near Artisan’s Way on Wednesday afternoon. Collins is about 6’ tall and weighs about 150 pounds. Collins was last seen wearing dark in color pants and a white shirt. Collins was not armed, according to Chief Arnold Downing.
The department is familiar with Collins as he has been in and out of trouble with the law including several assault cases dating back to 2005. It was that familiarity with Collins that led to his vehicle being pulled over, according to Downing.
“The officer knew who he was when he saw him driving and knew he was suspended,” the chief said. “[He] took off running, leaving the vehicle there, and the other individual has not been contacted by police.”
After the traffic stop, an officer attempted to place Collins under arrest for driving while suspended, but Collins fought the officer and kicked him in the face. The police officer sustained non-life threatening injuries, but the officer needed medical care.
Collins was able to flee the scene and head down Jefferson Street in Berlin to Washington Street, touching off a massive manhunt throughout Berlin, resulting in road closures and police stationed through the downtown corridor.
At one point, residents along Washington Street reported Collins was seen jumping fences and running through backyards. It was around this point that police reportedly lost sight of Collins.
At some point, while fleeing police, Collins reportedly broke a window in a residence on N. Main Street and entered the home briefly before exiting.
Later on Wednesday evening, property owners in Berlin reported police were searching their outbuildings for Collins, who police said witnesses had reportedly spotted along Broad Street. Properties nearby were searched with officers and a K-9 participating, and residents were ordered to remain inside while it was conducted.
“We had sightings during the evening [Wednesday] night, and it was quite evident that he was still out there and was not picked up by anybody,” Downing said. “With the sighting itself and the description, it was apparent he was still in the area. He could have just stayed in one location for a period of time and then just left.”
Downing said Collins has been turned over to the fugitive task force because its expertise is located wanted individuals.
“They are chasing him and whatever other individuals they have on their list,” Downing said.
Maryland State Police troopers, a MSP Aviation Unit and deputies from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office assisted Berlin police in the unsuccessful search during Wednesday afternoon and evening. While the search was conducted, Buckingham Elementary School was placed on temporary lockdown, according to Lawson, although students had already been dismissed for the day. There was not a high-profile police presence at the school Thursday morning, according to parents dropping their students off on the second to last day of school.
During the search, roadblocks were set up on Main Street and police were stationed along Washington Street, as residents watched and observed. In some cases, outbuildings were searched with police officers’ guns drawn, according to residents.
Collins has been charged with assault, burglary, driving while suspended and fleeing and eluding.
Collins is no stranger to law enforcement. Numerous charges, from marijuana and crack cocaine possession and distribution to trespassing and assault, are included in a basic criminal background check. In fact, Collins was sentenced to three years in jail in 2010 after being found guilty of distribution of crack cocaine. He was released earlier this year and was on three years of probation. Collins was charged with second-degree assault on April 15 and is to appear in court on June 25.
Berlin police have had a number of run-ins with Collins, who is most recently listed as a Libertytown Road resident in Berlin, perhaps most notably back in 2007 when he had to be Tased during an incident at a Bay Street apartment complex. Collins reportedly spit in the face of a police officer, who then used a Taser to subdue him. He was charged with second-degree assault, among other charges. He was given probation before judgment in that case.
Anyone with information about Collins is asked to Berlin police at 410-641-1333.