Cops & Courts – May 7, 2021

Cops & Courts – May 7, 2021

First-Degree Assault

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City man was arrested on first-degree assault and other charges last week after allegedly choking his girlfriend while she was holding an infant during a domestic incident.

Around 8 p.m. last Thursday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer was dispatched to a residence on Judlee Avenue for a reported domestic assault. Upon arrival, the officer reportedly observed a blue sedan leave from the front of the residence at a high rate of speed. While other OCPD officers were looking for that vehicle, the initial responding officer met with the female victim, who was holding her infant child, according to police reports.

The officer immediately observed red marks on the victim’s neck consistent with hand prints, according to police reports. The victim reportedly told police her boyfriend, identified as Travis Pugh, Jr., 25, of Ocean City, had dragged her around the room and choked her before leaving in the blue sedan the officer had observed upon arrival. The victim told police she was able to punch Pugh in the mouth with a closed fist in self-defense prior to his leaving.

As the officer was interviewing the victim, the front door reportedly swung open and the victim identified the person standing by the door as Pugh. The officer interviewed Pugh outside and observed him to have a bruised and lacerated lip. Pugh reportedly told police he believed the victim had been smoking marijuana again, and that he didn’t want her to do that around his infant daughter.

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Pugh reportedly told police he bought a drug test from Wal-Mart and wanted her to take it. When she refused, he got so angry that he grabbed her by the arm and attempted to pull her from the couch. Pugh said the victim refused to stand up, which is when she punched him in the mouth, according to police reports. Pugh became angry and left the residence and drove off in the blue sedan before returning. Pugh did acknowledge he initiated the physical altercation, according to police reports.

OCPD officers interviewed the victim, who told police a different version of the events. The victim told police Pugh did come home and demand she take a drug test because he thought she was smoking weed. The victim reportedly told police she was sitting on a bed holding her infant when Pugh left the room.

Pugh then came back into the room, grabbed the infant from her arms and put the baby in a swing. The victim told police Pugh then grabbed her legs and tried to pull her off the bed. Pugh then grabbed the victim’s arm and began dragging her down the hallway and into the living room, according to police reports.

The victim reportedly told police she went back and grabbed her infant child and Pugh came back into the living room. The verbal argument continued until Pugh allegedly grabbed the victim by the throat with one hand and began choking her. The victim told police she could not breathe while Pugh was allegedly forcefully choking her while she was holding her infant.

According to police reports, the victim told officers while she was being choked, she was able to hold the baby with one hand, she used her free arm to connect to punches to Pugh’s mouth in self-defense. Meanwhile, the victim father reportedly showed up at the residence about that time and Pugh went outside to argue with him. The victim reportedly told police Pugh threatened to kill her father and said Pugh had a gun in the trunk of his car.

A search of the vehicle’s trunk revealed a 12-gauge shotgun in a hard-shell gun case, according to police reports. The victim’s father reportedly told police he did not know what the issue was, but he didn’t want Pugh and the victim fighting in front of his grandchildren. The victim’s father also told police Pugh had threatened to shoot him or kill him and that he had made similar threats in the past. During a subsequent interview, Pugh reportedly told police he had grabbed the victim’s throat and choked her for roughly five to 10 seconds.

Basked on the evidence and testimony, Pugh was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Following a bail review hearing on Monday, Pugh was ordered to be held without bond.

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Two Arrested For Fighting

OCEAN CITY — Two Maryland men were arrested on multiple charges last weekend after a fight that began at the Inlet lot and spilled over into the downtown area.

Around 5:25 p.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to a reported fight at the Inlet lot. A witness had reported two men, later identified as Ellis Smith, 42, of Gaithersburg, Md., and Kwame Smith, 36, of Germantown, Md., were squaring up as if they were going to fight.

OCPD officers arrived on scene and observed Ellis Smith lunge at Kwame Smith. Kwame Smith was able to avoid the attempted attack and the OCPD officers separated the two men. Ellis Smith then ran away toward the Boardwalk, but Kwame Smith reportedly ran after him yelling “Do something then,” according to police reports.

By now, a crowd had gathered around the scene and were moving away to avoid getting caught up in the altercation, according to police reports. The two men then ran to Baltimore Avenue and the argument continued. OCPD officers followed, and when Ellis Smith turned to Kwame Smith and yelled “let’s do this,” he was taken into custody for disorderly conduct. When Ellis Smith was being taken into custody, he reportedly pulled away from the officers attempting to handcuff him and a resisting arrest charge was added.

Meanwhile, when officers attempted to take Kwame Smith into custody, he reportedly walked away from them and crossed the street. An OCPD officer grabbed Kwame Smith by his elbows and attempted to handcuff him. Kwame Smith reportedly braced his arms and refused to be taken into custody until OCPD officers had to execute a takedown to force him onto the ground.

Even once on the ground, Kwame Smith reportedly continued to resist, but was finally detained. Kwame Smith was transported to the hospital for injuries sustained during the conflict before being taken back to police headquarters for processing. Each of the men were charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, affray and resisting arrest.

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Wrong Way Driver Busted

OCEAN CITY — A Lexington Park, Md. man was arrested on marijuana possession and open container charges last weekend after going the wrong way on a one-way street not once, but twice.

Around 11 p.m. last Friday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer patrolling in the downtown area observed a vehicle traveling the wrong way on a one-way street not once, but twice. The vehicle traveled east on 1st Street before turning right on Baltimore Avenue, heading southbound. The vehicle also struck the curb along Baltimore Avenue.

The officer stopped the vehicle in a motel parking lot and made contact with the driver, identified as Cameron Dexter, 20, of Lexington Park, Md. The officer observed several large chunks of marijuana on Dexter’s clothing and on the driver’s side floor board. The officer asked Dexter for his license, but Dexter reportedly told the officer he did not have his license on him, and that the vehicle was a rental from St. Mary’s County.

A search of the vehicle revealed several more chunks of marijuana in between the driver’s seat and the center console. There was also an open can of alcoholic beverage in the center console, according to police reports. A background check revealed Dexter’s license had been suspended. Dexter was arrested and charged with open container, possession of marijuana over 10 grams and traffic offenses. The officer later weighed the marijuana collected from Dexter’s vehicle and in came in at over 20 grams.

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Gun Found During Stop

OCEAN CITY — A Michigan man was arrested on weapons charges and other counts last weekend after police observed him going the wrong way on Philadelphia Avenue.

Around 3:30 a.m. last Saturday, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer observed a pick-up truck traveling north in the southbound lanes of Philadelphia Avenue around 9th Street. The officer activated his lights and siren and finally stopped the vehicle around 12th Street.

The officer made contact with the driver, identified as John Kimmel, 62, of Lake Orion, Mich. Kimmel reportedly told the officer he had been drinking at a bar at 8th Street, but had slept in the parking lot until such time as he felt he was okay to drive, according to police reports.

The officer asked Kimmel to step out of the vehicle and when Kimmel opened the driver’s side door, the officer observed the handle of a firearm. Kimmel reportedly leaned toward the weapon and told the officer “my gun’s in the door,” according to police reports.

OCPD officer pulled Kimmel from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs, according to police reports. He was also found to be in possession of a switchblade-style knife, in violation of the town’s weapons ordinance. Kimmel was arrested and charged with weapons violations and traffic citations.