A nighttime shooting in one Columbia village and a daytime stabbing in another have left a woman and a man dead, doubling the number of homicides in Howard County this year in less than 24 hours.
Nichole Bernadette McNair, 42, was shot and killed late Monday, Sept. 12, in the 8700 block of Hayshed Lane in Long Reach.
Phillip Edward Wise, 46, of no fixed address, was fatally stabbed Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the 5500 block of Harpers Farm Road, in Harper's Choice.
"It's unusual for us to have a homicide in Howard County, so, yes, it's more unusual to have homicides back to back," police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said. "We do not believe they were related in any way."
On Wednesday, police arrested a Columbia man in the McNair slaying. Dominique Davon McDonald, 21, whose last known address was in the 9700 block of Clocktower Lane of Kings Contrivance, is facing one count each of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault.
McDonald was being held at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup on $2 million bond, according to online court records.
Also on Wednesday, police issued an arrest warrant on a charge of first-degree murder for Anthony Patrick Parker, a 53-year-old man of no fixed address whom police suspect in the Harper's Choice stabbing.
On Monday, police received multiple phone calls reporting at least one gunshot in the Longreach House Condominiums complex at around 10 p.m. They arrived to find McNair wounded. She was taken to Howard County General Hospital in critical condition and died overnight, Llewellyn said.
McNair lived on the 4300 block of Nichols Avenue, in Baltimore. A car that investigators believe McNair was driving was found at the scene. The vehicle was still running, Llewellyn said, and a piece of evidence in the car indicated McNair worked as a bail bondswoman.
Detectives believe McDonald was a client of McNair's and had arranged to meet her on Hayshed Lane to pay her bail money owed for a recent unrelated case against him. Paperwork in McNair's car indicated she was collecting money from McDonald, Llewellyn said.
Police searched a wooded area near Hayshed Lane and found McNair's cell phone and the back piece of a Samsung cell phone later determined to be McDonald's, police said.
Police tracked McDonald to an apartment in the 8800 block of Tamar Drive where he had been staying. They spotted McDonald leaving the building, stopped him, and found the other half of the Samsung phone, Llewellyn said.
A search of the building turned up a hooded jacket – witnesses had reported seeing a man wearing one running from the scene – and a loaded handgun, both in a common area of the building's basement.
McNair's death was Howard County's third homicide of 2011.
On Tuesday, police were called at about 4:30 p.m. and told that a man was bleeding in a parking lot at the Fall River Terrace housing complex.
The caller told police he had been inside his apartment when he heard his car alarm go off. When he arrived at the vehicle, he found the Wise lying near it.
The vehicle, a silver Honda, was towed from the scene a few hours later. Blood streaked the sidewalk in front of the car.
Police believe Wise might have activated the alarm when he collapsed against the car before hitting the ground. He was taken to Howard County General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police said that witnesses spotted Parker and Wise with a group of people hanging out around a silver van in the complex's parking lot. They told detectives that Parker and Wise had an altercation and Parker and several other people then drove away in the van, Llewellyn said.
Police identified the van's registered owner and found the vehicle, which had blood on its front fender, parked on Columbia Road, Llewellyn said. Its owner has not been charged with a crime.
Residents in the complex said Tuesday night they had not heard anything and did not know the victim. Jack Maguire, 64, looked out his second-floor window toward the parking lot. He had returned home from grocery shopping to find several police cars with their lights flashing in the lot.
"We're better off locking the doors now," Maguire said. "We never had this kind of trouble here. We've been here for 32 years, and I've never seen anything like this."
In Long Reach, where McNair was killed, one resident said she heard a pop and then someone screaming. Another resident, who said she has been living in the complex for less than a year, said the neighborhood was "pretty quiet" until Monday night.
"I'd like to know if it's some kind of isolated incident," Kim Toddman, 44, said.
Police investigating the shooting searched Tuesday for evidence outside of Howard High School but did not find anything, according to school Principal Gina Massella.
"We've been following up on tips and leads, and we've increased patrols in that specific neighborhood and have been conducting some searches today for evidence," Llewellyn said Tuesday. "Those are all typical things after we have a homicide like this."
In the other two killings in the county this year, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death in July at his home in the 8700 block of Airybrink Lane, which is also in Long Reach and about a half-mile from where Monday's shooting occurred. An 18-year-old Columbia man was arrested and is facing trial.
The same week, the April death of a 3-year-old Oakland Mills boy was ruled a homicide after an autopsy by the Maryland Medical Examiner's Office determined he had been asphyxiated. No arrests have been made in that case.
There were five homicides in Howard County in 2010.
For updates on the slayings, go to explorehoward.com.