With 10 homicides, 2017 was another violent year in Harford County

With 10 homicides, 2017 was another violent year in Harford County
Detectives and crime scene investigators with the Harford County Sheriff's Office work at the scene of a fatal shooting in the Bel Air South area in February. The killing of Marilyn Jaz Scott, 28, was the first of 10 homicides in the county in 2017 and it remains unsolved. (MATT BUTTON/THE AEGIS/BSMG)

Ten people have died in homicides in Harford County in 2017, including three people killed in a workplace shooting in Edgewood and a 15-year-old girl whose death in August remains unsolved as the year ends.

Eleven people died by homicide in Harford County in 2016, compared with seven homicide deaths in 2015.


There were no new updates, as of Thursday morning, in the 2017 killing of Maleigha Catherine Solonka, 15, of Edgewood, according to Cpl. Daniel Petz, spokesperson for the Havre de Grace Police Department. Havre de Grace Police have been investigating her death, which was caused by asphyxiation, since her body was found in the 400 block of Webb Lane Aug. 16.

The Feb. 7 shooting death of Marilyn Jaz Scott, 28, in the Calvert's Walk Apartments in Bel Air South also remains under investigation, by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. The agency has released little information since the killing — it was the first homicide of 2017 — but officials said at the time they believe Scott was targeted.

"We believe that she was the target of this assault," Maj. William Davis of the Sheriff’s Office said. "We don't believe there is any threat to anybody else in the community."

Police have made arrests in this year’s other homicide cases:

May 29 — Gary Tyrone Gibson, 43, was found shot to death on Memorial Day in a driveway in the 1500 block of Mitchell Lane in Perryman, south of Aberdeen. Quadell Rashon Pollins, 37, of Belcamp, was arrested by Sheriff’s Office deputies on June 5. He and Gibson had been arguing in the hours leading up to the shooting, according to charging documents. Pollins has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, first-degree assault and the use of a firearm in a felony violent crime. A jury trial is scheduled for March 12, 2018 in Harford County Circuit Court, according to online court records.

July 20 — Donna Zaragoza, 56, was found beaten to death in a second-floor bedroom in her family’s townhouse in the 1000 block of Jeanett Way, in the Irwin’s Choice community in Bel Air. Sheriff’s Office deputies took her 16-year-old son, Andrew, into custody at the scene. He had barricaded himself in another bedroom, but deputies convinced him to come out. He had multiple self-inflicted stab wounds and was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.

Andrew Phillip Zaragoza has since been charged as an adult with the murder of his mother, who was beaten with a hammer. He is being held in the Harford County Detention Center without bail on charges of first-degree murder and two counts of wearing and carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, according to court records. His jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2018 in Circuit Court.

July 20 — Havre de Grace Police Department officers found Andrew Pizanis, 20, in his residence in the 800 block of Lafayette Street vomiting and bleeding from stab wounds. He was taken to University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His girlfriend, Aubri Grace Pluhar, 23, of the 800 block of Lancaster Drive in Bel Air, turned herself in Aug. 23 after police obtained a warrant for her arrest. She faces charges of first- and second-degree murder and wearing and carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure. A jury trial is scheduled for April 16, 2018, according to online court records.

Aug. 16 — Maleigha Catherine Solonka, 15, of Edgewood, was found dead in the 400 block of Webb Lane in Havre de Grace. The cause of death was asphyxiation, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Maleigha lived with her guardians in Edgewood, and family reported her missing to the Sheriff’s Office Aug. 10. Vance DuPree, her uncle and guardian, said she was an avid softball player, and the family had planned to enroll her at Joppatowne High School in the fall.

"It's overwhelming, the impact that she put on people's lives," DuPree said shortly before her Aug. 23 funeral service.

Aug. 31 — Charles Pugh, 48, of Edgewood, died after allegedly being shot by Derek Holder, 52, of Edgewood while the two argued in the 600 block of Harr Park Court in Edgewood. Pugh was sitting in his vehicle, which veered backward and struck another vehicle at Harr Park and Cedar Drive after he was shot. Sheriff’s Office deputies, who were acting out of caution in response to a report a person had barricaded himself in a nearby house, set up a perimeter around the neighborhood and closed a main thoroughfare, Edgewood Road, between Hanson and Willoughby Beach roads for about five hours.

Holder has been charged with first-degree murder, using a firearm in a violent crime, wearing, carrying and transporting a firearm and failing to remain at the scene of an accident; a jury trial is scheduled for April 9, 2018, according to court records.

Oct. 18 — Bayarsaikhan Tudev, 53, of Virginia; Jose Hidalgo Romero, 34, of Aberdeen; and Enis Mrvoljak, 48, of Dundalk, employees of Advanced Granite Solutions in Edgewood’s Emmorton Business Park, were allegedly shot to death by their co-worker, Radee L. Prince, 38, of Delaware. Two other Advance Granite Solutions employees were wounded, along with a third person Prince allegedly shot in Wilmington Del., while fleeing. Police apprehended Prince near Newark, Del., after a massive manhunt in both states that involved federal law enforcement. Authorities have announced Prince will be tried for the Delaware shooting first.

Dec. 21 — Lauren Michelle Walls 34, of Street, was found dead by asphyxiation in a parking lot in Susquehanna State Park north of Havre de Grace. Brandon Wovas, 25, of Aberdeen, was arrested by Sheriff’s Office investigators after confessing to strangling her to death. He is being held without bail in the county jail on charges of first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and altering evidence in a criminal proceeding. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2018 in District Court.