Police release image of truck possibly related to fireworks assault

Westminster Police have released an image a “vehicle of interest” that may be connected to a recent firework incident. Two people were injured when a firework was fired into a crowd during a Westminster Patriots Resist Rally.

Westminster police have released an image a “vehicle of interest” that may be connected to a recent incident where a firework was fired into a crowd, injuring two people. Police are also offering a reward for any additional information leading to an arrest and conviction.

The vehicle is described in a Westminster police news release as an extended cab pickup truck, possibly a Ford Ranger, white in color with a black liner, black or gray running boards, fender flairs and mud flaps, in good condition, occupied by two subjects.


This truck was seen in downtown Westminster around 1 p.m. Saturday, July 14, which police believe could link it to the fireworks incident. The image in the news release was taken from a security camera at the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library, and police have been able to review the video, according to police Cpt. Pete D’Antuono.

“When the truck passed, that’s when the flash from the [explosion],” he said.

Around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, members of the Westminster Patriots Resist Rally, an informal group that has been meeting weekly near the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library for more than a year to demonstrate in support of what members believe to be imperiled American values, heard a loud “crack,” rally organizer Henry Reiff previously told the Times. He said that it appeared to be a firecracker of some sort thrown from a “late model red Corvette.”

Ten minutes later, Reiff told the Times, another vehicle drove by and what rally members described as a “bottle rocket” was thrown out, striking two members of the rally, neither of whom were seriously injured.

According to D’Antuono, the red Corvette noted by Reiff did not appear to be associated with the incident, and police are only seeking more information about the truck.

“In the review of the video that we had access to, there was never a red Corvette,” he said. “There was on the street, but it was a considerable time before anything transpired.”

Police have been investigating the incident as an assault and are offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

Anyone with information relating to the incident or the vehicle of interest should call Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Schuster of the Criminal Investigations Bureau at 410-848-3846 or 410-848-4646, according to the news release. Alternatively, anonymous tips may be called in to 410-857-8477 or texted to 847411.

The type of information that could help police, D’Antuono said, would be a description of the occupants of the truck, a tag number, or tips about who might drive a similar vehicle.

“Rangers, [Ford] stopped producing in 2011, so it will be an older model. It obviously looks to me like it has been well maintained,” he said. “I think something might stand out a little bit.”

The Westminster mayor and Common Council issued a statement Tuesday condemning the actions of whoever threw the fireworks on Saturday, calling it an attack on free speech.

“The right to free speech is a core tenet of the United States Constitution,” the statement reads, in part. “Everyone has the right to make their voice heard without being subject to intimidation by acts such as that which occurred on July 14.”

While the political nature of the rally could be a salient factor, D’Antuono cautioned that it is also possible the incident was entirely random.

“We probably won’t know what the actual motive is until we identify someone and get the opportunity to interview them,” he said.


Westminster Councilman Tony Chiavacci said that while the intent of those who fired the fireworks Saturday might not be known, the coincidence with the rally, and the potentially darker interpretation moved city officials to say something.

“We don’t know that it wasn’t just a couple of jack wagons being stupid for no other reason than being stupid,” he said. “But in the event that it is actually someone trying to quell those folks’ right to go out there and exercise their First Amendment rights, we felt compelled to make a statement that we are not going to have it.”

Even if the rally had nothing to do with the incident, Chiavacci said, it was still dangerous and the city will “prosecute as full as we can those responsible.”

“At the end of the day, they could have really injured somebody,” he said. “That hits someone in the eye and blinds them, now it’s not some stupid prank, now it’s ruining someone’s life.”

In a Tuesday interview, Reiff said that while he does not know the intentions of whomever threw the firework, the timing and location of the incident do make him wonder.

While those at the rally would not describe themselves as “anti-Trump,” Reiff said it would be easy to see why it looks that way to some people.

“In full disclosure, we are not exactly pro-Trump either,” he said.

The rally first began, according to Reiff, shortly after President Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March, when many of those involved in the rally became concerned about what the new president’s policies said about American values.

“We wanted to bring visibility to our concerns, particularly in Carroll County, which is very conservative. We wanted to show there are many people who want to stand for what we think are patriotic, American values,” Reiff said. “Things like an inclusive society, of embracing multiculturalism because of its benefits, not because it’s politically correct.”

The rally is intended to supportive of those values, according to Reiff, rather than a protest against any particular political party, or other interpretations of American values, but he said those involved recognize that others may not see it that way.

“I think all of us went into this knowing there would be a certain risk,” he said. “Whenever you put yourself out there and express opinions not everyone is going to agree with, that I think, goes with the territory.”

Agree with Reiff’s politics or not, Chiavacci said, the city is committed to ensuring the safety of people who choose to peacefully express political opinions.

“It doesn’t matter you agree or disagree with what those folks are out there talking about,” Chiavacci said. “They have a right to do it, and we are going to make sure they are safe as long as they are doing it legally.”

Reiff said that the group plans to be out again this Saturday, as usual.


“We think this is something that will attract more supporters to come out and stand with us,” he said.