Trio Arrested In Incident Involving Shots Fired

BERLIN — Three local individuals are being held without bond this week in Wicomico County for attempted first-degree murder and other serious charges for their alleged roles in the pistol-whipping of a man in Worcester County on Monday night.
Around 9:53 p.m. on Monday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a 911 call advising an individual with possible gunshot wounds at a residence on Hayes Landing Road just south of municipal Berlin. Upon arrival, troopers located a victim identified as Joseph Cooper III, 26, with traumatic injuries to his head, according to police reports.
Cooper was transported by MSP Aviation to Shock Trauma in Baltimore. He was treated and released the following day. It was determined the victim had not suffered gunshot wounds, according to police reports.
The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) was called to the scene to assume the investigation. Detectives learned three suspects, identified as Kimberly Worley, 31, of Pittsville; Avontae Fortt, 27, of Salisbury; and Jaquan Cannon, 31, of Salisbury, had gone to Cooper’s residence in Newark for a pre-arranged purchase of a PlayStation gaming device, according to police reports.
During the exchange, Fortt allegedly struck the victim in the back of the head with a pistol, while also firing several rounds from the gun. The suspects then fled the scene in a white Chevrolet Impala. A description of the vehicle was broadcasted to all local law enforcement agencies in surrounding jurisdictions.
Around 10:35 p.m. on Monday, MSP troopers and Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputies located the suspects’ vehicle traveling north on business Route 13 in Salisbury. After failing to stop for emergency vehicles, the suspects’ vehicle failed to control its speed and collided with a fence in the area of Liberty Street and Route 13 around 10:45 p.m. on Monday, according to police reports. Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputies were able to detain all three suspects. During the arrest, Fortt allegedly assaulted Wicomico County deputies. In addition, illegal narcotics and a loaded 9mm handgun were located in the vehicle.

Worley has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and numerous other charges for the Worcester County incident. She was also held on numerous outstanding warrants from Wicomico County and Worcester County including burglary, assault and trespassing. As of midweek, she was being held in the Wicomico County Detention Center.

Fortt has been charged with attempted first-degree and attempted second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and multiple other charges. He is also being held in the Wicomico County Detention Center this week.

Cannon was charged as being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun and a loaded firearm and possession of illegal drugs. He also had outstanding warrants in Wicomico County for burglary, assault and trespassing. He also is being held this week without bond in the Wicomico County Detention Center.

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.