No Injuries After Man Accidentally Fires Gun Inside Motel

OCEAN CITY — A gun discharge at a downtown motel early Wednesday evening was accidental and a suspect has been charged.

Around 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported discharged weapon at a motel in the downtown area. The preliminary investigation determined the incident was an accidental discharge and no one was injured as a result.

While officers were responding, Ocean City Communications were advised by motel staff someone in a second-floor room had discharged a firearm and the occupants of the room were attempting to leave the motel property. An OCPD officer arrived and observed the group standing by their vehicle in the parking lot. One member of the group, identified as Jon-Raymond Miguel Harperez, 24, of New Bethel, Pa., had both of his hands in the front pouch of his sweatshirt and when the officer asked him to slowly remove them, a spent 9mm shell casing fell to the ground, according to police reports.

When questioned, Harperez reportedly told police he was in possession of a handgun and the weapon was located in a book bag on his back. OCPD officers removed the book back and placed Harperez in custody. OCPD officers removed the gun storage case from the book bag and located a Gen 5 Glock 9mm handgun.

The weapon was loaded with a 15-round magazine of which 14 rounds remained and the chamber was empty. In addition, the case contained another 15-round magazine, a 14-round magazine and a clear, extended magazine loaded with 29 rounds, all of which were capable of being fired from the weapon.

Harperez, an ex-military personnel, informed officers on the scene he had just returned to his motel room from a nearby gas station. According to police reports, Harperez told police while he was removing the handgun from his pants pocket, he accidentally discharged one round into the floor of his motel room.

OCPD officers interviewed a member of the motel’s cleaning staff, who told police she had been in the motel laundry room located directly below Harperez’ second-floor room. The witness told officers she heard a loud pop and immediately observed dry wall from the ceiling in the air and on her left shoulder.

OCPD officers met with the hotel manager, who told police he immediately responded to the second-floor room and found Harperez and the other occupants had already packed up their belongings. The manager noted the group still had two additional nights remaining on their reservation.

According to police reports, Harperez, a military veteran, holds a concealed carry permit in his native Pennsylvania, but concealed carry permits from that state are not reciprocal in Maryland.  Harperez was arrested and charged with having a handgun on his person, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm within city limits. He was released on personal recognizance after a bail review on Thursday.

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.