Man, 20, charged in fatal shooting


A 20-year-old man with a long history of criminal arrests was charged yesterday in the homicide Friday night of a man in the Oakland Mills village of Columbia.

Howard County police have accused Tavon Donya Sands of shooting Deshawn Anthony Wallace, 23, during a botched robbery attempt that involved as many as nine men.

Wallace lived in the 9200 block of Connell Court in Columbia and was killed in a parking lot of the Stevens Forest Apartment Complex in the 5800 block of Stevens Forest Road.

Sands had been released from jail in Baltimore County, where he was being held on a handgun charge, about four days before Wallace's homicide, court records show.

A Howard County officer arrested Sands during a traffic stop about 8:30 p.m. Monday in the 4900 block of April Day Garth.

He was charged the next morning with 23 counts that range from first-degree murder to reckless endangerment.

During the incident Friday, Wallace and four other men were ordered to the ground, according to court documents. When Wallace refused, he was shot once in the head, and the gunman fled with several other men in a large white vehicle, court documents state.

Police are investigating whether there is a relationship between the two groups of men, county police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said.

Area police know Sands well and believed early on that he was involved in the homicide Friday, Llewellyn said.

Police showed a photo array to two victims from the incident, and both men identified Sands as the shooter, court documents state.

He was charged in five cases in Howard County last year alone, court records show. Several of those cases involve handgun and assault charges. The resolution of those cases was unknown last night.

Sands was charged with several counts of first- and second-degree attempted murder, numerous counts of first- and second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment in an incident in May in which police said he shot at two men near the Oakland Mills Village Center.

The state dropped charges in that case at the end of July. It was unclear why last night.

Sands was indicted by a Howard County grand jury in March 1999 in an incident involving a handgun on school property. He was charged with first-degree assault, assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a handgun on school property, among other charges.

After an incident when he was age 13, Sands was charged with attempted first-degree murder in Baltimore. The state dropped that case because he was so young, according to court records.

After arresting Sands on Monday, police secured search warrants early yesterday for a residence in the 3400 block of Lowlen Court in Ellicott City and another in the 5700 block of Yellow Rose Court in Columbia.

Police recovered property, including firearms, from both residences, Llewellyn said. Police are unsure whether the firearms include the handgun used to kill Wallace, Llewellyn said.

Although police said Sands has no fixed address, court documents list his residence in the 5400 block of Cedar Lane in Columbia.

Sands will have a bail review hearing at 10:30 a.m. today. Another hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26. He is being held without bail in the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup.

Police will meet with residents at 7 p.m. today at The Other Barn in Oakland Mills to discuss safety issues.

Llewellyn said police will be happy to report to residents that an arrest in the homicide has been made.

"The pieces came together quickly in this case," Llewellyn said. "We're certainly pleased about that."

Sun staff writer Lisa Goldberg contributed to this article.

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