Robber's slipping mask gives police lead in shooting


A mask that slipped during an attempted robbery of a Columbia furniture outlet has given Howard County police a lead into the shooting of two employees by a pair intruders.

Howard County police released a sketch of a man they believe to be the gunman who shot the workers when a burglary alarm sounded during the June 4 holdup at the Scan furniture outlet in the 9400 block of Gerwig Lane near the Owen Brown Village.

The man is described as being in his mid-20s to early 30s, with black hair, brown eyes and a medium build. He stands 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 11, and weighs about 150 pounds, police said.

Police also are looking for the other assailant, but they have been unable to get a complete description of the man, said Cpl. Kevin Costello, a Howard police spokesman.

The gunman's description is the first information police have released since the incident. They have not said what type of gun was used in the attack.

Though the victims originally told police both men had been wearing black masks, detectives learned that one gunman's mask apparently kept falling down during the robbery attempt, exposing his face, Corporal Costello said.

The victims -- a 37-year-old Temple Hills man and a 24-year-old Silver Spring man -- were released after treatment at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore over the weekend.

A hospital spokesman said the younger man even requested an alias for fear of his life.

Neither victim could be reached for comment yesterday.

Workers at the outlet said yesterday that they were happy police have a lead on the gunman but were still shaken over the June 4 incident.

One worker who refused to be named said employees there were relieved that managers plan to hire a security guard for Sundays.

Sunday is the only day several other warehouses near the Scan outlet are closed, leaving employees isolated in the Guilford Industrial Center, he said.

The area was nearly deserted at 5:20 p.m. June 4 when the two masked men jumped from the side of the building after the two victims locked the warehouse and walked to their cars.

The men ordered the employees back inside the building, demanded to be told the location of the cash register and safe, and told the workers to lie on the floor.

Police said one gunman shot the 37-year-old man in the back and the 24-year-old man in the chest when the alarm suddenly sounded. Both intruders ran, and the older man managed to get to a phone and call 911, police said.

Anyone with information should call Howard County police at 313-2220 or the Metro Crime Stoppers Hotline at 276-8888 to qualify for a $2,000 reward.

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