The Aegis
Harford County

Joppa grandma comes to aid of pizza delivery driver who was shot; one suspect arrested

Karen Rollins had planned a pizza dinner with her two grandchildren Saturday evening at her Joppa home. But her plans were thrown into disarray when she found herself in the middle of a medical emergency and in a split-second decision, provided crucial assistance to the delivery driver, who had been shot after leaving the pizza at her door.


Rollins said she remembered waiting to be notified that her pizza had arrived. Then, she looked out the living room blinds at her Ellsworth Place home and saw the pizza box sitting there.

As she walked outside to grab her pizza, she saw the delivery man, Da’Shawn Betterson, struggling to walk. In a split-second decision, she said, she let Betterson in her home and rendered aid while they waited for police.


“I saw this gentleman outside hopping around,” Rollins said, when reached for comment Tuesday. “I asked him if he was OK, and he said, ‘Ma’am, help me. I’ve been shot.’ I said, ’Get in here really quick.’”

Rollins called 911 and said the operator told her how to help stop the bleeding on Betterson’s wounds until help arrived.

Patrol deputies from the Southern precinct responded around 7:30 p.m. to Rollins’ home in the 300 block of Ellsworth Place. When they arrived, they found Betterson, 24, of Edgewood, inside with multiple gunshot wounds to his lower body.

Betterson, a delivery driver for Papa John’s Pizza, was walking back to his vehicle after delivering Rollins’ pizza when , he was shot several times in the groin area, according to charging documents.

Although Rollins had her 10-year-old and 4-year-old granddaughters in her home, she said she couldn’t leave Betterson outside.

“I would have never left him out there,” Rollins said. “It was just how I was raised.”

Deputies provided aid until personnel from the Joppa Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company arrived. Betterson was transported to Shock Trauma for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries by Maryland State Police Medevac helicopter.


Detectives identified Malik Burns, 27, of Edgewood, as a suspect after searching for witnesses and digital evidence. Deputies were told there were multiple witnesses in the area at the time of the shooting, according to charging documents.

One witness took a photo of the suspect’s vehicle, which they turned over to police, according to charging documents.

Investigators found that there was an earlier altercation between the suspect and the victim in the parking lot of the Papa John’s Pizza in the 1000 block of Woodbridge Center Way in Edgewood, where Betterson works. One of the detectives went to the location and obtained video footage from a nearby store, according to charging documents.

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Witnesses at the store said Betterson got into an argument with a man and woman over a parking space, according to charging documents. During the argument, the man pulled out a large knife with a brass knuckles handle and threatened Betterson. The man and woman left in a blue Dodge minivan.

Deputies later found the vehicle and using the registration, identified the woman involved in the altercation as Christina Lucas, according to charging documents. Lucas confirmed the argument was over a parking space and identified the man she was with as “Malik Brown,” according to charging documents.

After further interviews, investigators confirmed that the person Lucas named was Burns, according to charging documents. Detectives interviewed Betterson at the hospital and Betterson identified Burns as the man he argued with over the parking space, according to charging documents.


Burns was located Sunday morning at Lucas’ residence in the 1600 block of Candlewood Court in Edgewood, where he was arrested.

Burns was charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first-degree assault and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. He was transported to the Harford County Detention Center, where he is being held without bail. . Lucas has not been charged.

A manager at the pizza shop confirmed Monday that Betterson worked there but said the company had no comment. A hospital spokesperson said Monday that Betterson was not on the patient roster and could not disclose when he was discharged.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information about this crime, or who may have video of the incident, is asked to call Detective Reynolds with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, at 443-409-3502.