Carroll County law enforcement agencies are working to determine the cause of numerous reports of destruction of property leading up to and after Monday’s deadly encounter between a trooper and a Westminster man.
As of Wednesday, the Westminster Police Department had received 33 reports of property destruction since Saturday evening, including slashed tires, broken windows or windshields, and broken windshield wipers, Lt. Jeff Schuster said.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office received six reports of destruction of property in the area near the Monday shooting, according to Cpl. Jonathan Light. Trooper First Class Tyler Michael fatally shot a 34-year-old Westminster man, Michael J. D’Angelo, after D’Angelo stabbed the trooper in the side, police have said.
Maryland State Police say a trooper from the Westminster Barrack was responding to a report of destruction of property in which the caller described a suspect and said he was armed with a knife. The trooper encountered a man at about 8 a.m. near Washington Road and Stoner Avenue in Westminster and attempted to talk to him. A struggle ensued and the man stabbed the trooper before the trooper shot him, police said.
A knife was located at the scene, state police said.
The Westminster Barrack of Maryland State Police took one report of destruction of property to a vehicle near Washington Road and Stoner Avenue, according to Greg Shipley, state police spokesman.
“The sheriff’s office took three reports Monday that would have normally been taken by our barrack, but the deputies were covering our calls in the area that day following the shooting.”
Schuster said Westminster police received many property destruction reports after the shooting, but the damage in all the reports was done between the evening of Friday, March 8 and the morning of Monday, March 11.
Schuster said 29 of the reports of damage came from the east side of Westminster, with just four on the west end. The damage from the reports from the west side, he said, occurred on March 8.
Reports of damage came from East Main Street, East Green Street, South Bishop Street, Baldwin Park Drive and Carroll View Avenue, Schuster detailed.
“We’re gathering video,” Schuster said. “We’re trying to get as (much) video surveillance as we can get our hands on” to see if it’s all the same person or another perpetrator.
Schuster said Westminster police hope to determine by the end of the week if any — or all — of the malicious destruction was attributable to D’Angelo.
Art McGuire, 72, who’s lived on Washington Road for 24 years, was loading his truck for a day’s work, not far from the intersection police had cordoned off, where he saw five state troopers on Washington Road.
Subsequently, he noticed a flat tire on his year-old van. He said he thought, “How’d I get a flat, I haven’t moved it in two weeks?” When he looked closer he found two puncture marks. On Tuesday it was propped up on a jack, the punctured tire lifted off the ground.
Larry Reid, 73, a retired Baltimore city officer and former deputy sheriff of Carroll County, lives a few houses down from McGuire on Washington Road.
Four of Reid’s vehicles had slashed tires.
Reid said his son, who lives in Taneytown, had spent the night. His son’s car was one of three that had tires punctured overnight.
Reid said he went to retrieve his Dodge Challenger for his son to drive to work. He left the Challenger at the end of his driveway closest to Washington Road at about 8 a.m. Within 15 minutes, he said, its tires had been slashed, too.
He drove down the road in a different vehicle, and found the trooper, who would later be stabbed, talking to another resident whose tires were slashed.
A preliminary investigation found that the trooper had been responding to a report of vehicle damage, according to Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley. A second person who reported their tires were slashed gave the trooper a description of a white man carrying a blade.
State police have not identified the trooper who shot D’Angelo, though he has been placed on administrative leave — standard protocol for such an incident, according to state police.
Jim Erb, 70, has lived in his home on Washington Road since 1989. He runs his real estate business from his house, so he’s usually home most of the day.
“I’ve always been the type to keep an eye on things,” he said.
At 5:30 a.m. Monday, he went out to retrieve his newspaper. He didn’t notice anything abnormal about his vehicle then.
But later in the morning he went out to find his blue Ford Ranger pickup had a flat.
He said he called the Westminster Barrack of the Maryland State Police at about 7:45 a.m. about his punctured tire. The person he spoke to was polite, but said they were very busy.
Moments after the phone call, multiple police vehicles zoomed past his house.