A second alleged knife attack that was reported in Westminster on Jan. 24 was likely unfounded, police now say. The first attack, for which a man was charged, will soon go before a grand jury for consideration of additional charges.
“We are going to continue our investigation to make sure we’re not missing anything, but at this point we believe the second incident did not occur,” Westminster Police Chief Thomas Ledwell said at a meeting of the Mayor and Common Council on Monday night.
On Friday, Westminster police received two reports of knife attacks on the east end of Main Street, one reported about a half hour after midnight and the other reported at 2:30 p.m. by a victim who said she had witnessed the first stabbing.
Ledwell said Monday that some facts gathered through the investigation don't support the report of the assault, such as the nature of the injury. Police also found that the alleged victim had made another report of assault in the recent past. Surveillance footage showed that an assault had not occurred.
"We believe at this time that report is going to be unfounded. There are certain things that I can't get into, but we have concerns as to the veracity of the victim in that particular incident,” Ledwell said.
The first report to police said a man wearing a ski masked had lunged at the woman with a knife, cutting her before fleeing. Police searched for the suspect Friday and continued to investigate.
Capt. Scott Peter of the Westminster Police Dept.'s Criminal Investigation Bureau, said Monday morning police were going over the details of the investigation with a “fine-tooth comb,” and that “we don’t believe the public is in any danger.”
The first incident, which occurred about 30 minutes after midnight, was a “bona fide stabbing involving two individuals known to each other,” Ledwell said Monday night.
According to the charging documents, a white man directed a racist epithet at a black man, threatened to hang him, and then stabbed him more than once with a straight-edge, “fixed blade” knife. The victim and another individual took the suspect to the ground and held him there.
The victim was taken to University of Maryland Shock Trauma in Baltimore and was reported in stable condition.
Buck K. Sexton Jr., 37, was arrested at the scene and charged with first- and second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment.
Ledwell said he had consulted with Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo regarding the potential for additional charges and a grand jury will convene within the next 30 days to hear the facts of the case and decide if any additional charges are merited.
DeLeonardo confirmed to the Times that “all felony cases are reviewed for the appropriateness of additional charges and presented to the grand jury.”
On Friday, the Times asked specifically if prosecutors were considering hate crime or attempted murder charges, and a spokesperson for the State’s Attorney’s Office said, “As this case is a pending matter, we cannot comment on it specifically. What we can say generally is that any time our office receives a case, we gather all the information and determine what, if any charges are appropriate."
Sexton is being held without bond, according to electronic court records.
At the council meeting Monday, Public Safety Committee Chair Tony Chiavacci praised the police for their quick apprehension of the suspect.