Domestic Incident Leads To First-Degree Assault Charge

OCEAN CITY — A Selbyville man was arrested and charged with first-degree assault last week after an investigation into a May 5 incident found he allegedly pointed a loaded handgun at his wife’s head during a domestic incident.

On May 5, an off-duty Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was contacted by a female victim advising the officer of an assault that had already occurred. The victim told the officer she and her husband, later identified as Jonathan Shortt, 28, of Selbyville, had been staying at hotel on 11th Street and had returned from having dinner when the incident occurred.

According to police reports, the victim told the OCPD officer she and Shortt had gotten into a verbal argument, during which Shortt allegedly punched her in the chest. The victim told police Shortt then retrieved a loaded handgun from a safe and held it to her head, according to police reports.

The victim told police she was able to wrestle the gun away from Shortt and get away from him. According to police reports, the victim told the officer Shortt said to her, “You are lucky I didn’t pull the trigger,” and left the hotel room with the firearm.

According to police reports, the victim told the off-duty officer over the phone that Shortt was extremely intoxicated and that she practically had to carry him back to the hotel after dinner. The victim told the officer she called him because she didn’t know what else to do and that she feared for her life because she honestly thought Shortt was going to kill her.

According to police reports, the victim told the off-duty officer she did not want to call the police because she was scared. Based on the severity of the alleged incident, the off-duty OCPD officer contacted the evening shift supervisor to report it. As a result, OCPD officers responded to the hotel to investigate and located both the victim and Shortt. According to police reports, the victim refused to speak to the responding officers and did not want them there. For his part, Shortt denied the incident ever occurred and stated he would never point a firearm at anyone he did not intend to harm, according to police reports.

During a search of Shortt’s vehicle, a Smith and Wesson M&P handgun was located in the trunk. Based on the evidence, Shortt was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. According to police reports, Shortt is scheduled to deploy for a military assignment soon, which is why he requested the warrant be issued due to the risk of him not appearing for court.

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.