Anne Arundel County Police arrested Hong Young, 35, from Beltsville, Maryland. Young is responsible for multiple regional shootings in late February and early March. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
A 35-year-old accused in a string of random shootings in the Baltimore-Washington region told police he was "hearing voices" that told him to do it, court records released Thursday show.
Hong Young was arrested Tuesday night near Arundel Mills mall, where a week earlier police said he shot a vehicle driven by a 61-year-old man. On Thursday, Young was ordered held without bond on charges of attempted first-degree murder in that shooting.
Police said the Beltsville resident confessed to the shootings that continued this week, including incidents Tuesday in which bullets hit the window of a dump truck on the Intercounty Connector, injuring two people, and at a building affiliated with the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. Police said he fired shots Monday near a Wal-Mart in Laurel and the AMC Theatres at The Mall in Columbia.
Police said Young, a former Maryland corrections officer, will face charges in the other incidents. Authorities are investigating whether Young shot at the Maryland Live casino at Arundel Mills.
Police said the motive for the shootings is unknown.
Reached by phone, Young's mother, Tha Bou Young, said, "I am sad right now," and burst into tears. She declined to comment further.
Investigators apprehended Young even as they scrambled to connect seemingly indiscriminate shootings and prepared to go public with their suspicions of a lone gunman on the loose.
Charging documents detail the traffic stop that led to Young's arrest. Officers Matthew Hall and Mason Ellis saw a Lincoln Town Car matching the description of a vehicle linked to some of the shooting incidents. It was parked in a mall lot in a space far from the stores.
The officers drove toward the vehicle, which drove off, according to the documents. The officers turned on their emergency lights and Young pulled over near a Costco Wholesale store.
According to court documents, Young told the officers he was coming from the casino and "had issues locating his vehicle." As they spoke, Hall saw a shell casing on the right rear floorboard. The officers asked Young to get out of the car and found a .380-caliber pistol on the front passenger seat.
Young was taken to the FBI field office in Woodlawn, where he waived the right to an attorney, confessed to the shootings and "claimed that he was hearing voices, which made him shoot," police said in court records.
Young was initially taken to a hospital for undisclosed treatment and then to the Jennifer Road Detention Center in Anne Arundel County. He is awaiting a bail review, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday in Annapolis
In addition to attempted murder, Young is charged with first-degree assault, the use of a firearm in a violent crime, having a handgun in a vehicle, and reckless endangerment in connection with last week's shooting.
On Wednesday, Maryland Live management notified Anne Arundel police of suspected bullet holes in two sides of the building. Police have not confirmed a link to Young, but the department said in a news release that "the method of operation appears to be similar."
Records show Young lives in a home in the 4900 block of Daisey Creek Terrace in Beltsville. On Thursday, a "no reporters" sign had been posted on the front door.
Young's wife, Bunnary Ngo, told The Baltimore Sun in a phone interview Wednesday that the family grew concerned recently because he had not returned home and was not answering his phone. The couple did not have any children and are getting a divorce. She said she has been living in California for several months.
On Thursday, law enforcement agencies released more detailed information about their joint investigation and how they linked the shootings to a single suspect.
At first, Anne Arundel police believed the Feb. 24 shooting on Arundel Mills Boulevard was an isolated incident, said Lt. T.J. Smith, a police spokesman. The department released surveillance video images Saturday of the Town Car suspected in the incident and urged the public to keep an eye out.
When two more shootings were reported Monday, police had "preliminary hunches" that the events were connected, Smith said.
"We worked to get expedited ballistics profiles back to definitively link these incidents," he said.
Howard and Anne Arundel police began coordinating their investigations. And on Monday evening, police informed the FBI that "they may have a serial shooter," said Amy J. Thoreson, a spokeswoman for the FBI field office in Baltimore.
When asked why police didn't go public then, Smith said the agencies were still working ot confirm the events were related.
Thoreson said the FBI was in the process of taking evidence from the shootings to its lab in Quantico, Va., on Tuesday when the fourth shooting occurred — on the Intercounty Connector in Prince George's County.
The evidence was then sent to the Prince George's County police lab so it could be analyzed sooner, officials said.
At that point, the FBI became the lead agency responsible for sharing information with the public and the media, Smith said.
Thoreson said FBI Special Agent In Charge Stephen E. Vogt was planning a news conference with the other investigating agencies to get word out on the incidents and the possibility of a lone gunman. But then the fifth shooting — at a National Security Agency building — interrupted the plans, and the FBI took command of the investigation because the attack was on a federal building.
Thoreson said the FBI was about to send word out to the public to be on the lookout for the suspected car in the shootings. The agency was setting up a phone tip line and planned to offer a reward when Young was arrested.
Shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday, the Prince George's County Police Department's Firearms Examination Unit definitively linked four of the shootings through ballistics, said Officer Michael Owen, a spokesman. No ballistics evidence was recovered in the shooting at the Wal-Mart.
Baltimore Sun reporters Jessica Anderson and Pamela Wood contributed to this article.