Shooting Suspect Pleads Guilty

SNOW HILL — The second of two men implicated in a downtown shooting in Ocean City in June pleaded guilty this week to second-degree assault, all but one of which was then suspended.

Carwin Duarte, 29, of Reading, Pa., pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree assault for his role in the June 29 shooting incident in downtown Ocean City. Duarte was sentenced to three years in jail, all but one of which was suspended. He was also fined $500 and placed on probation for two years upon his release. The shooter in the incident, Elvin Mendez-Espada, 20, also of Reading, last week entered an Alford plea to one count of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony and now awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation. Sentencing for Mendez-Espada has been set for March 11.

Around 2:10 a.m. on June 29, OCPD officers in and around the 18th Street area on different patrol assignments heard shots fired nearby. The investigation revealed a group of six individuals including four males and two females had gotten off a bus at 28th Street and were walking south along Coastal Highway toward 11th Street.

When the group passed the Islander Motel at 18th Street, they interacted with another group of individuals in and around the motel pool, which sits in a fenced-in courtyard adjacent to the highway. Words were exchanged, but no physical altercation occurred at that time. However, one member of the group walking south heard the members of the group in and around the pool discussing going after the other group.

According to the statement of facts, Mendez-Espada followed the group and more words were exchanged, at which point he lifted his shirt and revealed a semi-automatic handgun in his waistband. He then pulled out the gun and pointed it at one of the males in the group and said something to the effect of “what are you going to say now,” according to the statement of facts.

When male members of the group saw the gun pointed at their friend, one of them punched Mendez-Espada, knocking him into a fence. Mendez-Espada recovered and fired two shots, neither of which struck any of the victims. Two male members of the group then grabbed Mendez-Espada, who was still holding the gun, and put him in a bear hug.

Mendez-Espada’s friend, later identified as Duarte, then punched one of the male victims with Mendez-Espada in between them. Mendez-Espada then fired at least two more shots. One of the victims was shot through his pants leg and was grazed on his calf. Another victim was shot in the thigh near the groin. It was later determined the shot narrowly missed a major artery in the victim’s leg. The victim was transported to PRMC.

Following the shootings, Mendez-Espada and Duarte fled the scene, but Duarte was found a short time later. Mendez-Espada ran north to the area of Dolphin Street where he jumped in the bay. OCPD officers surrounded the area blocking all escape routes and waited until daylight to retrieve Mendez-Espada from the canal where he was found hiding near a bulkhead.

Probation, Fine In Attack

SNOW HILL — A Connecticut man, arrested in July on assault and other charges after pulling a knife on and nearly stabbing a resort bar owner during a scuffle, pleaded guilty last week to reckless endangerment and was placed on probation and fined.

Around 1:40 a.m. on July 22, Ocean City Police were dispatched to the Sandbar Karaoke Lounge on 33rd Street for a reported fight in progress. When the officer arrived, she observed three men, including bar owner Eric Thompson and two employees, holding down a third man, later identified as Justin J. Parlow, 22, of Derby, Conn.

One of the employees pointed to some nearby bushes and told the officer “the knife is in there,” according to police reports. The officer interviewed Thompson, who told police just before their arrival, Parlow had been involved in a physical altercation with other patrons outside of the bar. Thompson told police when he went outside to break up the fight, Parlow “bear hugged” him and tackled him to the ground.

The victim said at one point when he was trying to wrestle away from Parlow on the ground, the suspect pulled out a folding knife, opened the blade and pushed it toward his left thigh. The victim told police he could feel the blade of the knife touch his thigh after Parlow pulled it out and pushed it toward him. Thompson told police he thought Parlow was going to stab him. Thompson said at that point, bouncer Tyler Lundy and several other bar employees and patrons jumped on Parlow to try to wrestle the knife from his right hand.

Lundy told police Parlow and his girlfriend had gotten into an argument with another couple outside the bar and that Parlow’s girlfriend had assaulted the male half of the other couple. Lundy said at that point, Thompson came out to break up the fight and Parlow wrestled him to the ground. The bouncer said as Thompson was trying to push Parlow off of him, the suspect pulled out the knife and pushed it toward Thompson’s thigh.

Lundy said he and other bar patrons jumped on Parlow and he was eventually able to kick the knife from the suspect’s hand and then threw it in the bushes out of Parlow’s reach. Lundy told police he was in fear for his own life and for Thompson’s life. Several other witnesses corroborated the victims’ account of the incident. Another OCPD officer recovered the weapon, a folding knife with a three-inch blade, in the bushes. Parlow was arrested and charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and openly carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure. Last week, Parlow pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and was placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

No New Jail Time

For Knife Threat

SNOW HILL — A Salisbury man, arrested in June after threatening two individuals with a knife in downtown Ocean City, pleaded guilty this week to second-degree assault and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended.

Around 2:25 a.m. on June 22, two individuals, a 21-year-old male and a 22-year-old male, both of Philadelphia, approached an OCPD officer on patrol in the 2nd Street area and reported they had just been assaulted by a group of male suspects who had then fled the scene. The victims told police one of the suspects had presented a knife and threatened them with it.

OCPD officers on the scene were able to quickly obtain a description of the suspects and the vehicle in which they were traveling and the information was broadcasted over police radio. A short time later, OCPD officers spotted the suspects’ vehicle heading north on Baltimore Ave. and stopped it near 2nd Street. Each of the occupants of the vehicle were detained and questioned by police.

OCPD officers were able to determine one of the suspects, identified as Anthony Hardy, Jr., 19, of Salisbury, was in possession of the knife used during the assault and the weapon was seized as evidence. Hardy was charged with two counts each of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure and concealing a dangerous weapon.

This week in Circuit Court, Hardy pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all but one day of which was then suspended. He was then given credit for one day spent in jail awaiting trial, netting no new jail time. Hardy was also placed on probation for three years and fined $500.