Man Faces First-Degree Assault Charge For Choking

OCEAN CITY — A Salisbury man was arrested on first-degree assault charges last week after allegedly choking his girlfriend during a domestic altercation at an uptown resort hotel.

Around 10 p.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a hotel at 91st Street for a reported 911 call hang-up. While the officers were responding, Ocean City Communications advised a female had called 911 and was yelling she needed police before the hang-up, according to police reports.

Upon arrival, OCPD officers met with a hotel security staffer who reportedly told police he had observed a male individual later identified as Darrin Wyatt, 52, of Salisbury, throwing a female down on the ground. The witness told police the victim was able to get away from Wyatt and he briefly left the area, but came back a short time later looking for his phone.

OCPD officers interviewed the victim, who reportedly told police Wyatt had gotten mad because she had sent a text message to her ex-husband. The victim told police Wyatt threw her to the ground outside their hotel room and began choking her. The victim told police she could not breathe for at least a full 10 seconds while Wyatt had his hands around her throat.

Another OCPD officer interviewed Wyatt, who acknowledged he had seen a text message the victim had sent to her ex-husband and that a verbal argument had ensued, but denied choking the victim. Instead, Wyatt reportedly told police the victim was the first to escalate the argument to a physical altercation when she allegedly punched him several times. Wyatt told police he gathered his things and left, but returned when he realized he had left his cell phone behind.

OCPD officers also interviewed a witness, who had been at the hotel pool with his children when the incident unfolded. The witness reportedly told police he was at the pool with his children while his wife, who was resting in a room near where the incident occurred, called him hysterically telling him there was an altercation going on in an adjacent room and telling him not to bring the children back up because it was going on, according to police reports.

The witness told police he was afraid for his wife’s safety and went up to the fourth-floor room where he observed Wyatt allegedly attempting to kick in the door of the victim’s hotel room. When the witness approached, Wyatt reportedly said to him, “You want some of this too?” and took a swing at the witness, but missed him, according to police reports.

OCPD officers interviewed the witness’s wife, who was in an adjacent room and her the altercation unfolding. The female witness told police she was terrified because her children were supposed to come back from the pool at any moment and she did not want them to witness the altercation. The female witness said her husband returned almost immediately thereafter and when she looked out of her hotel room door, she observed Wyatt attempting to kick in the door of the adjacent room.

The female witness said her husband blocked the way while she exited her hotel room and ran back to the pool to retrieve the children. The female witness said she heard Wyatt yelling at her husband and when she turned around, she saw Wyatt pushing her husband against the wall in the hallway.

After taking testimony from the victim, the hotel security staff, the male witness and his wife, all of which corroborated the same essential facts in the case, OCPD officers arrested Wyatt and charged him with first- and second-degree assault, disorderly conduct 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.