McDaniel student fabricated attempted robbery report, police say

A McDaniel College student who told police that he had been the victim of an attempted robbery along Pennsylvania Avenue early Sunday morning was lying, according to a news release from the Westminster Police Department.

Matthew J. Hines, 21, has been charged on criminal summons with one count of making a false statement to a police officer, a criminal misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $500 fine, according to police.

When police responded to reports of a shooting at McDaniel College Sunday around 2:45 am, officers interviewed Hines who said that he had been confronted by three men while walking along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Hines told police that the men had jumped out of a gray mini-van and one man said that he had a knife. Hines said that he then ran to safety at a friend's apartment without giving anything to the men.

When confronted with inconsistencies in his statements to police, Hines admitted that he had fabricated the report and that he had not been a victim of any crime, according to police.

Hines, of the 18000 block of Marden Lane in Sandy Spring, is a junior at McDaniel, according to college spokeswoman Cheryl Knauer.

McDaniel released a statement on the false report Tuesday evening with Beth Gerl, McDaniel Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, stating that "students are held accountable for their behavior both on and off-campus."

"I am very disappointed and saddened to learn of the charges brought against a member of our student community," Gerl said.

In addition to the criminal charges, "the college will take disciplanary action" as well, according to the statement.

Hines' false report is not related to the shooting incident, which McDaniel continues to "fully cooperate" on with the Westminster Police Department, according to the college's statement.

Westminster Police continue to seek the public's assistance in identifying the suspects who fired the shots on campus. A $1,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

McDaniel was placed on lockdown for more than three hours early Sunday after several shots were fired at Whiteford Hall, a freshmen dormitory.

Police have said the shooting stemmed from an off-campus confrontation between several McDaniel students and a group of six or seven individuals in the area of Englar Road and Monroe Street.

Individuals sought by police are all believed to be in their late-teens to mid-20s. The group may be local to the Westminster area and was mixed, both in gender and race, police said.

The group attempted to provoke the students into a fight around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, with one man displaying a handgun, police said. The students walked away from the confrontation and entered Whiteford Hall, according to police.

Moments later, "several shots" were fired through a second floor window, according to police.

Anyone with information is requested to contact Det. Stephen Blackwell by calling 410-857-9285. Callers may remain anonymous and may also text their tips anonymously by texting TIPWPD and their tip to 847411.

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