An armed robber and an accomplice herded four female employees into a vault at a small Randallstown bank yesterday afternoon and shot them all, fatally injuring two and seriously wounding the two others before taking a bag of money, Baltimore County police said.
The victims were all shot in the head moments after the gunman -- who carried a Mac-10 machine pistol -- ordered them to lie down in the vault at the Farmers Bank in the 9800 block of Liberty Road, court charging documents said.
Two suspects were arrested minutes later after two police officers in an unmarked car tailed the men in their alleged getaway car to the rear of a bagel shop five miles away. Police said the suspects began throwing clothing and blood-stained rubber gloves into a trash bin as officers closed in.
Police recovered the bag of money from the car, as well as the semiautomatic weapon, which was fully loaded with a clip containing 30 rounds of 9mm shells.
The ordeal began at 2 p.m., when two well-dressed men walked into the bank wearing ski masks and gloves and demanded money from the vault, court records said. The four employees were the only people in the bank at the time.
The bank manager told the men there was no money in the vault and that it was kept in the bank window stations. At that point, the women were ordered into the vault, told to lie down, and were shot immediately, court records said.
Baltimore County police spokesman Stephen R. Doarnberger said the attack was unprovoked and the gunman "just opened fire on them."
The men grabbed a sum of money and ran outside to a gray car, police said. After they left, the manager -- whose injuries were less severe than those of the others -- was able to get to a telephone and call 911, telling police everyone had been shot.
Pronounced dead at the scene with a gunshot to the head was Dorothy Juanita Langmead, 44, a teller, of the 4200 block of Deer Park Road, Randallstown.
Head teller Anastasia "Stacey" George, 51, died six hours later at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. She lived in the 2200 block of Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg.
The two other women -- both Sykesville residents -- also had been flown by state police helicopter to the Shock Trauma Center. They were identified as Barbara Mitchell Aldrich, 52, of the 1000 block of Bruce Court, and Cindy Ann Thomas, 21, of the 900 block of Dixon Ave.
Philip R. Militello, clinical director at Shock Trauma, said each had been shot several times. Ms. Thomas, a teller, was in critical but stable condition last night; and Ms. Aldrich, the branch manager, was upgraded early this morning from serious but stable to fair but stable condition.
The suspects were identified last night as Louis Hill, 25, of the 300 block of Stevenson Lane, Towson, and Benjamin Franklin Boisseau Jr., 23, of the 3100 block of Clifton Ave., Baltimore. Each was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and armed robbery. Other charges are pending today, police said.
The two arrived at the Baltimore County Courthouse in Towson at 11:50 p.m. last night in two unmarked police cars, accompanied by six Baltimore County police detectives. The suspects were wearing slippers and blue "Baltimore County Detention Center Inmate" overalls.
They sat on a bench outside the the District Court commissioner's office, with their arms handcuffed behind their backs. Both were sullen, looking down at the floor; they didn't speak.
The suspects were charged in separate 10-minute sessions before District Court Commissioner James Burton about 12:10 and 12:30 this morning. They were denied bail and sent to the county detention center.
As police secured the scene yesterday afternoon, members of the victims' families occasionally walked up to the bank, a small one-story brick ranch-house building that sits across Liberty Road from the Marriottsville Plaza Shopping Center.
Some were in tears, others had looks of shock on their faces. Police officers directed them to a nearby volunteer firehouse, where a chaplain offered counseling. Residents of the area responded with alarm.
"Get a handgun and protect yourself. This is like an extension of Baltimore City," said Mike Hulsee of Twelve Trees in Randallstown.
Jim Murray, 47, of Pikeswood Park Apartments goes to the bank every Monday at 2 p.m. to deposit his paycheck. Yesterday, he had parked his car at the nearby Exxon station when he took a moment to talk with the service station owner -- and if he hadn't, he would have been in the bank when the robbers arrived.
"God must have been looking over my shoulder," Mr. Murray said. Still visibly shaken, he describing bank employees as "the nicest people you'll ever want to meet." He had stopped to talk with Frank Der, owner of the Marriottsville Exxon, which is next to the bank.
Mr. Der said angrily: "If there was ever a reason to enforce the death penalty, this is it."
Ms. Langmead had two sons, ages 19 and 16, and she worked hard at her career so she could afford to put them through college, said a longtime neighbor, Joe Magee, 37.
Mr. Magee, who had known Ms. Langmead since moving to her neighborhood in 1957, said his neighbor had always been close with the boys, one of whom had just celebrated a birthday over the weekend.
She recently had been hired by the bank, a job Ms. Langmead worked very hard to obtain and train for, Mr. Magee said.
"It wasn't easy for her; she tried very hard to get that job," he said. "It's such a tragedy. Here was a person who tried to better her life, for herself and her family, and this is the ultimate reward for that kind of
effort. It's awful."
The cold-bloodedness of the shootings angered even the paramedics and Fire Department technicians who "were enraged by the senselessness of the shooting," said Thomas D. Mack Sr., a Baltimore County deputy chief.
"This is far different for them to deal with than victims of an auto accident or a fire," he said. "Those things can be explained. This can't."
About a dozen family members were taken under a police escort to the Shock Trauma Center. A number held hands as they were taken into a small office to be together while awaiting word from doctors.
One family member walked out of the waiting room and, with a burst of anxiety, said: "I can't stand it to wait in here any more." An officer offered her a cup of coffee; she declined.
Edgar Mistler, another Twelve Trees resident, who watched the aftermath of the shooting yesterday, said violence has gotten out of hand along the Liberty Road area.
"I've had it. I'm moving. I've been talking to my wife about it and I'm serious, this is it," Mr. Mistler said. "Five years ago we didn't have anything. Then we started to have a couple of automobiles stolen. Now, crime is coming right on out the road."
Police said a woman walking by outside the bank heard "hammer-like" sounds inside and, believing a robbery was occurring, called police. She saw the two men leave in their car HTC and gave them a description of the car and their license plate number, police said.
Two Baltimore County officers, Andrew Davis and Philip Crumbacker, were at the corner of Liberty and Milford Mill roads when they heard an alert for the car and saw it driving by moments later, court records said.
The men got in their unmarked cruiser and began following the car covertly and saw it stop once at a High's store, where the men got out and dumped clothing into a trash bin. The men got back in the car and drove to a lot behind a bagel shop in the block of Liberty Road.
By that time, backup officers arrived behind Officers Davis and Crumbacker and police closed in to arrest the suspects. The two men were dumping the blood-stained gloves and other clothing into a trash bin, and had blood on their hands, court records said.