First-Degree Assault Arrest After Store Stabbing

OCEAN CITY — A Columbia, Md. man was charged with first-degree assault last week for his role in an attack, including a stabbing, of another man in a downtown convenience store early last Friday morning.

Just after midnight last Friday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to the 9th Street Beer and Wine store in reference to a report of several individuals who were fighting inside the store, but prior to the officers’ arrival, it was learned the combatants had already fled the area on foot. However, around the same time the officers’ received a call from the staff of a nearby Boardwalk hotel that there were three African-American males in the lobby, one of which was bleeding from his face and legs.

OCPD officers responded to the hotel lobby and found the three males, one of whom was lying on a couch and bleeding from his legs and chin. The officers called for EMTs and began interviewing the victim, who told police he had been jumped by three men inside the beer and wine market on 9th Street. The victim said during the fight he had sustained the wounds to his legs, which were bleeding profusely, and that he believed he had been stabbed multiple times.

According to police reports, OCPD officers observed a roughly one-inch puncture wound on the victim’s upper left thigh and a one-inch puncture wound on his right thigh along with a large laceration on his chin, which was bleeding profusely. One of the victim’s friends was treating the bleeding with a towel. When Ocean City EMTs arrived, they advised the OCPD officers the victim’s wounds appeared to be knife wounds. The victim was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury.

OCPD officers then went back to the store and interviewed an employee who told police just prior to the attack, the victim entered the store and asked the employee to hide him because three men were trying to jump him. The store employee said three men then entered the store and began attacking the victim, each striking him numerous times as he fell to the floor. The store employee was able to take cell phone pictures of the three suspects as they attacked the victim and provide the pictures to the police. The store employee said the three suspects then fled the store and the victim was left behind, bleeding profusely from apparent stab wounds.

The OCPD officers observed one of the suspects in the cell phone pictures wearing blue jeans, gray sneakers and a gray hoodie with cheetah-print boxers hanging out of his pants. The suspect was later identified as Wilmot Hage, 19, of Columbia. Around 2:50 a.m., or nearly three hours after the attack, the same OCPD officer was patrolling in the area of 9th Street and Baltimore Avenue when he observed Hage walking up the sidewalk still wearing the same clothes he was wearing at the time of the alleged attack. The officer also observed Hage had blood splatters on his pants.

When questioned, Hage told police he had been involved in the fight earlier in the beer and wine store and when the officer produced the store employee’s pictures, he admitted it was him in the photographs. Hage told police the victim had knocked out his friend “Moot” earlier in the night and he and his two friends had been actively looking for the victim and seeking retribution when they found the victim alone in the area of 9th Street.

Hage told police he and his two friends chased the victim into the store and began attacking him. Hage told police he punched the victim at least four times while he was on the ground before running away, but did not admit stabbing the victim. Hage told police the victim had “put Moot to sleep,” which is why they had attacked him for retribution.

In addition, several signs and boxes of glass liquor bottles had been knocked down and destroyed during the attack. Another OCPD officer interviewed the doctor treating the victim at the hospital who confirmed the puncture wounds on his legs appeared to have been caused by a knife. Based on the evidence, Hage was charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and malicious destruction of property for the damage in the store. As of midweek, Hage was being held pending a bail review. The other two suspects have not yet been identified. However, the investigation is ongoing and more arrests may be pending.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.