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Baltimore man facing charges after allegedly shooting at vehicle in Westminster

Michael L. Branch Sr.
Michael L. Branch Sr. (Carroll County Sheriff's Office)

A Baltimore man faces assault and firearms charges after he allegedly shot a man’s truck in Westminster last month.

Michael L. Branch Sr., 59, of the 300 block of Westowne Road, was charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, illegal possession of ammunition, illegal possession of a firearm, possessing a firearm with a prior felony conviction, and using a firearm in commission of a felony, online court records show. He is being held without bond.

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A man told Maryland State Police he and a woman had been doing work on his house late on April 16, she left on foot, then at about 1 a.m. on April 17, he drove to a nearby residence looking for her, charging documents read. When the man arrived to the 3500 block of Littlestown Pike, he saw Branch exit a residence and fire two to three rounds from a handgun at the man’s truck, charging documents state. The man drove away and reported the incident to police in the morning, charging documents read.

Police found a 1-inch hole in the front passenger side fender, according to charging documents.

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During an interview with a witness at the Littlestown Pike residence, police saw two empty casings and one unused round lying in the driveway, charging documents read. A witness said they heard what sounded like 10 firecrackers outside their residence the night of the alleged shooting, charging documents state.

Police seized two .40 caliber shell casings and one round of .40 ammunition from the driveway and two cell phones from the residence that had been used to communicate with Branch, according to charging documents. Police served the search and seizure warrant at about 12:25 p.m. April 17. The unused round was swabbed for DNA, charging documents read.

Police served another search and seizure warrant May 1 at Branch’s Baltimore residence, taking miscellaneous rounds of ammunition from his bedroom and vehicle, charging documents state.

In an interview with police, Branch said he had been threatened numerous times over the past year by the man who reported the shooting. Branch said he was the victim of numerous crimes, including slashed tires and property theft, and believed the man was behind it, according to charging documents. Branch told police he reported the slashed tires and theft, but could not provide case numbers, dates, or the outcome of the investigations, charging documents state.

The day of the shooting, Branch said he was standing outside the Littlestown Pike residence when the man drove up, driving like a “wild man," then Branch shot at his vehicle to scare him, due to previous threats made by the man, charging documents read. Branch said he threw the gun in the woods near Mayberry Road and fled, according to charging documents.

Police wrote Branch is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition due to previous convictions.

A warrant for Branch’s arrest was issued May 7 and served May 10, online court records show.

Branch’s attorney did not immediately return requests for comment May 11.

Branch has a court dated scheduled for June 25.

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