County homicide detectives were relying on a dead man's fingerprintsto help identify him after his bullet-riddled body was found beside a road in Laurel early yesterday morning.
At about 1 a.m., a resident of the 200 block of Red Clay Road heard gunfire and looked out her window to see a car driving away, said police spokesman V. Richard Molloy. The woman could not describe the car, however.
Police began searching the area at the intersection of Red Clay and Barbersville roads. They found the body of a black man, who appeared to have been dumped along Red Clay Road.
"He was well groomed and dressed," Molloy said, "and in his mid-20s."
The man, who had no identification, was wearing a blue and white ski jacket.
Residents say the area is plagued by fighting, burglaries and drug trafficking, which they say comes from the Drexel Park apartment complex across the street from where police found the body.
Doug Midkiff, who has lived on Barbersville Road for 14 years, said he heard automatic gunfire about 1 a.m.
"I was sitting in the house with a friend, andwe heard it," he said. "Then I heard other noises outside, and the police were there."
Frank Hooks, a 30-year Red Clay Road resident, said that this was the first slaying that he knew of in the area.
The man's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office for anautopsy. Investigators do not know what type of gun was used in the shooting, although police were searching a suspect's home last night.
The slaying is the third that county police have handled this year.
The year began with two homicides in three days. Marlene Annette Kilpatrick, 55, was found dead of knife wounds in her home in the 100 block of Church Road in Arnold Jan. 3.
Robert Charles Queen, 20, of the 400 block of Darton Court in Glen Burnie, was the year's first murder victim. He was shot to death on New Year's Day in front of a home in Pioneer City. Police charged a 19-year-old New Jersey man in the killing.