Charges Filed After Rock Assault

OCEAN CITY — A Baltimore man was arrested on first-degree assault and other charges last weekend after allegedly striking another man in the head with a large rock.

Around 2:30 a.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported assault that had already occurred near 42nd Street and Coastal Highway. The complainant told police he and two of his friends were walking south on Coastal Highway and still had the suspect in sight.

Upon arrival, OCPD officers met with the three men who told police the suspect had struck one member of the group in the head with a large rock and threw another large rock at a vehicle passing by on Coastal Highway. Another OCPD officer had detained the suspect, later identified as Mark Walters, 31, of Baltimore, further down Coastal Highway.

However, the initial information provided by the victims seemed to indicate the assault was minor in nature and they appeared to not want anymore to do with the incident, so the officer detaining Walters let him go, according to police reports.

Upon further investigation, it turned out the alleged assault was more significant than first believed. The three men told police Walters had struck one of their members in the head with a large rock while still holding onto it or had thrown the rock at the victim’s head from a close distance after head-butting him.

The victims told police they were walking south on the sidewalk when they observed Walters highly intoxicated and yelling at passersby. The group told police they tried to calm Walters down to no avail, so they continued walking. They soon realized Walters was following behind them and yelling racial slurs in their direction, according to police reports.

The victims said they first attempted to help Walters, but when he began yelling racial slurs, they no longer wanted anything to do with him. At one point, the group believed they had lost Walters, but he reappeared walking behind them again. They observed Walters walk through a parking lot and emerge with a large rock used for landscaping in each hand. According to police reports, the large rocks were roughly six inches by three inches. Walters continued to follow the three men before throwing one of the large rocks at a black SUV passing by on Coastal Highway.

One of the men told police Walters then got in his face and before he could defend himself, Walters head-butted him, briefly stunning the victim. The victim told police when his back was turned to the alleged assailant, Walters either struck him in the head with a large rock or threw it at his head from a short distance. In either case, the blow staggered the victim and caused him to fall into lanes of traffic on Coastal Highway.

The victim’s two friends came to his aid while he was lying in Coastal Highway. At first, Walters tried to run from the scene, but was reportedly too intoxicated and just kept walking and was detained by the other officer.

After hearing more details about the assault, the initial OCPD officer put out a radio alert that the incident was more serious than first believed and Walters should be detained again. About that time, the black SUV returned to the scene and the driver alerted police it was Walters who had thrown a large rock at her vehicle. The vehicle had significant damage consistent with the description of a large rock being thrown at it.

Walters was found lying in a flower bed face down on a side street. Nearby, police found a hand-rolled cigar containing suspected marijuana. When OCPD officers were attempting to cuff Walters, he allegedly kicked one officer in the shin. Walters was charged with first- and second-degree assault and malicious destruction of property.

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.