OCEAN CITY — With the help of witness statements, citizen tips, surveillance video, heady police work and a lot of stars aligned just right, Ocean City Police this week charged a Sparrows Point man with manslaughter and assault for his role in the death of another Baltimore County man over Memorial Day weekend.
Detectives from the Ocean City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division this week charged Darren M. Beattie, 21, of Sparrows Point with manslaughter and second-degree assault for his role in the death of Ryan M. Shupert, 31, of Lutherville, Md. on May 29 in Ocean City. Around 2:30 a.m. on May 29, Ocean City Police and EMS responded to the area of 136th Street and Coastal Highway for a reported assault.
Ocean City EMS transported Shupert to PRMC in Salisbury where he was admitted in serious condition with life-threatening injuries. Two days later, Shupert succumbed to his injuries sustained in the street fight and the assault investigation turned into a homicide investigation. The victim’s body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner who ruled the death a homicide.
Detectives believe the victim and two friends were in a verbal argument with four male suspects on a municipal bus prior to the altercation at 136th Street. According to a source, the victim and his friends were on a northbound bus and got off in the area of 130th Street, while the four suspects were on the same bus and got off somewhere in the 140s. The source said the victim’s group began walking north, while the suspects’ group began walking south and the two groups converged again in the area of 136th Street where the deadly altercation occurred.
According to another source, the assault was not a major fight between the two groups, but rather a single punch that broke the victim’s jaw. The victim suffered the serious injuries that ultimately claimed his life in the fall following that punch, according to the source.
OCPD detectives had descriptions of two of the four suspects, but it appeared from the beginning identifying and ultimately charging them might be a long shot. The first suspect was identified as a white male in his 20s, approximately 5’8” to 5’10” with short, light-colored hair and visible tattoos on both arms and neck, while the second suspect was described as a white male in his 20s with a darker complexion, about 6’ tall and weighing around 200 pounds with curly hair and glasses.
Those descriptions could likely fit thousands of potential suspects on a crowded holiday weekend in Ocean City, creating challenges for the OCPD in the investigation, but a little more than a week later, detectives located their primary suspect in Baltimore County. With the assistance of numerous leads provided by the public, resort detectives were tentatively able to identify Beattie as the suspect.
Armed with that information, OCPD detectives traveled to the Dundalk and Sparrows Point neighborhoods in Baltimore County last Saturday. With assistance from the Baltimore County Police Homicide and Intelligence Units, OCPD detectives were able to quickly locate and interview Beattie along with other witnesses and involved parties.
On Tuesday morning, OCPD detectives applied for and received an arrest warrant for Beattie, charging him with manslaughter and second-degree assault. Beattie turned himself in to police at the Ocean City Public Safety Building later on Tuesday afternoon. Beattie was held at the Ocean City Police headquarters on Tuesday until a bail review hearing early Wednesday morning. He was later released on a $125,000 bond. A check of court records reveals little trouble with the law in Beattie’s past with the exception of a possession of alcohol while a minor violation last summer.
Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby praised the “swift, thorough and professional” investigation by OCPD Detectives James Rodriguez and Brett Case and called the incident a senseless tragedy.
“This type of senseless, preventable and tragic situation should serve as a reminder to everyone who finds public fights anywhere in Worcester County acceptable,” he said. “They’re not. Not only are they unacceptable, but people can lose their lives and others can lose their freedom.”
Meanwhile, the victim was laid to rest last weekend. As an organ donor, Shupert “gave the gift of life through the unselfish act of organ and tissue donation,” according to a letter from the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland to Shupert’s family.
The letter detailed Shupert’s heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, corneas and tissue were donated to individuals in need.
“The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, on behalf of all those awaiting a lifesaving transplant, would like to thank Ryan’s family for their patience and courage shown in honoring his wishes of becoming a donor. Their kindness and compassion are what enable the thousands of people awaiting a transplant to maintain hope. Their unwavering support is a lasting testament to Ryan and to their immense fortitude and inner strength during such a difficult time.”