Two Virginia men were charged after one allegedly shot at Aberdeen police officers during a foot chase, following a police investigation into a stolen vehicle, police said.
Ryan Patrick Samuel, 23, and Isaiah Torrell Thomas, 21, have both been charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, as well as firearms charges and theft charges related to the allegedly stolen car, according to the Aberdeen Police Department.
Both are being held at the Harford County Detention Center, police said. Thomas is being held without bond pending a bail review hearing Friday. Records did not list an attorney for Thomas. Online court records for Samuel, including whether he had an attorney, were not available as of 2 p.m. Thursday.
Lt. William Reiber of the Aberdeen Police Department explained that both could be charged with attempted murder because of violent crime statues in Maryland, even though only one person, Samuel, allegedly shot at the officers. Their culpability is up for the courts to decide, he said.
Aberdeen police were assisting Maryland State Police with finding a stolen car that had crossed into Aberdeen’s city limits Wednesday at around 6:30 p.m., according to a news release from the department. Troopers had lost sight of the Ford Mustang when it turned left onto West Bel Air Avenue from an unknown cross-street, and Aberdeen police started sweeping the area.
Approximately 30 minutes later, Aberdeen officers found the unoccupied Mustang on the 700 block of Saddler Street, but a witness told officers that two men had been seen leaving the car and walking away. Police canvassed the area and found Samuel and Thomas walking along Gunnison Drive, and an officer stopped them.
Samuel gave the officer a Virginia driver’s license, and while they continued to talk, Samuel “struck the officer with an open hand to the chest,” and the two men ran in opposite directions, police said.
Aberdeen police chased Samuel, who stopped in a yard at the unit block of Royal Terrace and fired “multiple rounds" at officers, police said.
“Samuel fired a second round of shots at officers as they turned a corner of a house as they continued their pursuit of him,” the release states. “Samuel was able to flee into the unit block of Gunnison Drive where he disappeared into a backyard. Officers did not return fire."
Four 9mm shell casings were recovered from the scene, and video taken from a residence recorded the sound of seven gunshots, according to the release.
Reiber said that officers did not shoot back because of where they were.
"They were not just firing haphazardly because they were in a community,” he said. "We are responsible for every round that goes downrange.”
Officers from Aberdeen and the Havre de Grace Police Department, along with deputies of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and state police troopers, established a perimeter and started a K-9 track, which led them to Samuel, who was hiding under an overgrown bush, police said. Officers ordered him out at gunpoint, and he was taken into custody “without force,” according to the release.
Later, another K-9 found a 9mm Glock pistol in a bush across from where Samuel was arrested, police said.
Around the same time Samuel was arrested, police arrested Thomas on the 600 block of West Bel Air Avenue, the release states, finding that he had an active warrant through the Harford County Sheriff’s Office for violation of parole. Thomas has connections to Edgewood, Reiber said. Thomas’ court records from 2017 list an address in Edgewood, though his most recent address is in Virginia Beach.
The Mustang had been up for sale, Reiber said, and was reported stolen through the Portsmouth Police Department in Virginia. Police found the key fob to the vehicle on Samuel. The registration plate was also reported stolen.
Both Samuel and Thomas are prohibited from possessing a firearm because of prior convictions; Samuel for a prior concealed weapon conviction and Thomas for drug distribution, police said.
During the investigation, Thomas also admitted that he had two loaded magazines, according to the release.
Reiber said he told officers that he had ingested something, so they took him to the hospital. Samuel was released from medical care at 7:30 a.m., the release states.
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The last time an Aberdeen Police officer was fired upon was in 2015 when an officer was shot in the face, Reiber said. That officer retired for medical reasons.