OCEAN CITY — Six Washington, D.C. area residents were arrested on first-degree assault and other serious charges early Monday morning after a verbal altercation between two groups turned physical and resulted in at least one victim being “pistol whipped” and robbed at gunpoint.
Around 2:40 a.m. on Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to the area of a seasonal rental condominium at 2nd Street and St. Louis Avenue for a reported strong-armed robbery call for service. Upon arrival, OCPD officers met with a large group of J-1 visa seasonal workers standing in front of the building. The investigation revealed the large group of J-1 visa foreign workers had been involved in a verbal altercation with another large group of individuals on the street in front of the seasonal rental condo and that the altercation had turned physical.
Through the investigation, it was learned the group of suspects had attempted to gain access to the seasonal rental condo building after glass bottles had been thrown from the building onto the ground near the suspects and their vehicle, which had been parked on the opposite side of the street and had since fled the scene. According to police reports, there was a large amount of broken glass on the street where the suspects’ vehicle had been.
The investigation revealed the group of suspects had demanded the J-1 student-workers allow them access to the building, but the seasonal workers refused to permit the suspects to enter the residential complex. A verbal argument ensued which quickly escalated into a physical altercation. One victim told police his cell phone rang during the altercation and he answered it, but the suspects believed he was calling the police.
The victim told police one of the suspects punched him in the face and forcibly took his cell phone from him. Another victim told police he was punched in the head by a member of the suspects’ group during the altercation. The victim also told police a female member of the suspects’ group was recording the entire incident on a cell phone.
Yet another victim told police he was assaulted during the altercation by the suspects’ group and had been struck in the back of the head with a handgun. OCPD officers inspected the victim and discovered visible trauma to his head behind and below his left ear with dried blood in the wound along with swelling.
The OCPD officers took independent testimony about the incident from third-party witnesses who were not part of the altercation. The witnesses provided detailed descriptions of the suspects and their vehicles. The witnesses also told police a semi-automatic handgun was displayed by one of the suspects during the robbery. The handgun was then handed to another suspect who racked the slide of the gun, according to police reports. The suspect then pointed the gun at one of the victims before striking him in the head with it, according to witness testimony.
OCPD officers on scene broadcasted a description of the suspects’ vehicle to all available police units and it was observed traveling south on Philadelphia Avenue. Several OCPD vehicles pursued the suspects’ vehicle, a 2002 Dodge Ram truck, as it crossed the Route 50 Bridge toward West Ocean City. The pursuit continued until the vehicle was stopped on Route 50 near the Wal-Mart shopping complex.
All six suspects were taken into custody. The victims were brought to the scene to positively identify the suspects. Six individuals were arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, having a handgun in a vehicle and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. Among those arrested were Monae Harrington, 20, of Waldorf; Novio Smallwood, 16, of Capitol Heights; Jayvonta Thomas, 22, of Hyattsville; Tijay Thomas, 19, of Hyattsville; Joquan Vinson, 16, of Capitol Heights; and Quincy Whitman, 22, of Suitland. Each was transferred to the Worcester County Jail and held without bond.