A year ago Thursday, on Oct. 18, 2017, in the span of six seconds, five people were shot — three fatally — while they were working at a granite and marble fabricator in Edgewood.
The suspect, a co-worker at Advanced Granite Solutions in the Emmorton Business Park, fled and set off a daylong manhunt in Harford County, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Radee Prince, 39, was eventually arrested in Newark, Del., but not before he shot someone else, a man he previously worked with in Delaware. He has been tried and sentenced in connection with the Delaware shooting and is waiting to be brought back to Harford County to stand trial on murder charges in the Edgewood shooting.
“I’d like to have him back here to get it tried and to get some resolution for the victims and the victims’ families,” Harford Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Lewis, one of the prosecutors in the Harford case, said Monday.
Killed were Bayarsaikhan Tudev, 53, of Virginia; Jose Hidalgo Romero, 34, of Aberdeen; and Enis Mrvoljak, 48, of Dundalk, all granite polishers at Advanced Granite. Jose Roberto Flores Gillen, of Edgewood, and Enoc Sosa, of North East, were injured and taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore; Sosa was discharged Nov. 2, 2017; Gillen was discharged four days later.
Gillen and Sosa could have survived because of the quick response by law enforcement and fire and EMS personnel, who were members of the brand new Rescue Task Force, in which medical personnel are escorted by police to treat victims, even if a scene has been deemed “entirely safe,” Maj. William Davis, commander of the police operations bureau for the Sheriff’s Office, said Monday.
“Both of them were severely injured, they were shot at close range — all head trauma,” Davis said. “Had we waited longer to get fire and EMS in — I guess nobody ever really knows — but we think getting the medical attention to them faster had an impact on whether they survived.”
The countertop fabrication company re-opened Oct. 25, seven days after the shooting.
Advanced Granite’s owner said through the receptionist Tuesday that the company will not comment on the anniversary of the shooting other than a statement scheduled to go on their website, www.advancedgranite.com, on Wednesday.
Police say Prince, who had been working at Advanced Granite for about four months, allegedly shot the five people shortly before 9 a.m. after gathering a group of co-workers together in the company’s rear workroom just before the violence began.
At the time, there were 29 people in the business, but fewer than 10 in the work area. The others were in the front showroom and offices, police said.
Within six seconds, Davis said, Prince allegedly shot five co-workers and fled.
The call to police came at 8:58 a.m., deputies arrived by 9:02 a.m., and deputies were inside the business by 9:05 a.m.
People in the office of Advanced Granite didn’t know it was a shooting — the incident was first reported as a gas leak, Davis said Monday. An employee reported that people were passed out on the floor. It wasn’t until deputies arrived and encountered people running from the building that they learned people had been shot.
Prince allegedly fled in an SUV that was in the parking lot of a nearby hotel and drove north. Police in Wilmington, Del., said Prince drove to an auto-shop there and shot Jason Baul, a man he once had a “beef” with who worked there.
It was seven hours before Prince was arrested. Local and state police in Maryland and Delaware and several federal agencies were all searching for him, with officers stationed up and down Interstate 95.
At about 5:35 p.m., Prince’s vehicle was spotted near a high school in Newark, Del. He was arrested at about 7:05 p.m. by three ATF agents after a brief foot chase.
Prince was convicted in Delaware on May 16 after a week-long trial of attempted manslaughter, reckless endangerment and other charges and was sentenced June 22 to 40 years in jail.
In Harford County, Prince faces three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count each of use of a handgun in a violent crime and illegal possession of a regulated firearm, according to online court records.
The State’s Attorney’s Office has been working to get Prince back to Harford County to stand trial, prosecutor Lewis said.
Lewis said he hopes Prince will be returned by the end of October or early November.
The county sought a detainer for Prince through the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, to which Prince had 30 days to object.
Those 30 days have passed, Lewis said, and Prince did not object, so the paperwork has been filed to bring him to Harford County.
The State’s Attorney’s Office, through the Attorney General, must coordinate with Delaware and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to arrange a pickup date for Prince, Lewis said.
Once returned to Harford, Prince will be held at the Harford County Detention Center pending an arraignment and other court appearances.
After Prince is arraigned, lawyers for both sides will meet with Circuit Court Administrative Judge Angela Eaves to “try to get the case set in for trial as quickly as possible,” Lewis said. A judge also will be assigned to the case.
According to online court records, Prince does not have a lawyer in Maryland, but has filed several motions in his case, all signed by him. Among them are a motion to dismiss the charges and a motion to present an “insanity defense.”
In his response, Lewis notes that “Maryland does not have a defense of insanity, it is assumed that he is asserting that he is not criminally responsible.”
When Prince returns to Maryland, he likely will be advised to get a lawyer or seek the assistance of a public defender, Lewis said.
“If he still continues to represent himself, that’s his decision,” he said.
Lewis said he doesn’t foresee Prince entering a plea in the Harford case.
“I may be surprised and if he gets an attorney he may persuade him otherwise, but I know he wanted a trial in Delaware,” he said.
The Oct. 18 shooting at Advanced Granite Solutions was the first workplace shooting in Harford County. Until then, law enforcement had only been trained how to react to a situation but they had never been put to the test.
“Like a lot of police training, you train for the worst in hopes you never, ever have to use it. And we certainly were under the impression that we would never have to use it,” said Davis, of the Sheriff’s Office. “But we view things differently now that not only could it happen, but it’s happened twice at this point,” he said referring to a second workplace shooting that took place Sept. 20 at a Rite Aid distribution facility in Aberdeen during which three were killed, three were wounded before the female shooter killed herself.
Before the 2017 Edgewood shooting, most of Harford’s deputies had received ALERRT training — Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, as had the other four law enforcement jurisdictions in Harford — Maryland State Police and Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace police departments, Davis said.
“In Harford County, we get multiple jurisdictions responding to these types of incidents, so when they show up, they all have the same training and they can all act seamlessly and they can enter the building,” he said.
The Advanced Granite shooting was the first test of the Rescue Task Force, protocol by which police and paramedics team up to enter a crime scene and rescue victims. It had just started organizing the week before.
Fortunately, Davis said, one of the first three law enforcement officers on the scene was Senior Deputy Jeremy Mothershed, who spearheaded the task force, and one of the first EMS responders was one of the first people to be trained in the response.
The idea is “to be able to get EMS into a warm zone, a secure area where no one is actively shooting,” he said. “It’s still dangerous, still not cleared fully, but we want to get in as fast as possible to stop the dying.”
The same response was used 11 months later, in the Aberdeen shooting, when Snochia Moseley shot and killed three people and injured three others before fatally shooting herself at the Rite Aid center in Aberdeen.
In that incident, police “had good information” that the shooter was incapacitated, Davis said, but they weren’t 100 percent sure there was only one shooter.
People had been shot inside and outside the warehouse, and two others had fled with a third person in a car off the property, Davis said. But the area where most of the victims were was deemed a warm zone and fire and EMS were able to go in even though the whole building had not been cleared.
The Sheriff’s Office continues to train its Rescue Task Force, he said.
“It’s not a skill set we learn once and that’s it. We repeat it yearly so we stay on point on whatever the new, latest and greatest theories are on how to do that,” Davis said.
One of the things done during the Rite Aid response that wasn’t done responding to the shooting at Advanced Granite was where responding law enforcement officers left their vehicles, Davis said.
Often when police respond to an incident, they get out of their vehicles and leave them in “the most convenient area,” which can often block streets and prevent fire and EMS vehicles from getting in and, more importantly, getting out, Davis said.
That happened in the Advanced Granite incident, he said, but when responding to the Rite Aid shooting, law enforcement made sure to leave a path for fire and EMS to get in and out.
One of the things the Sheriff’s Office will consider going forward is how to handle such a large police response, which was more so the case in the Rite Aid shooting.
“We know now that we are going to get a large federal response to situations like this,” Davis said. “We need to assure ahead of time that once we have a representative [of each responding agency], to have them go to a separate staging area and if we have a need for them, we can bring them in.”
The same applies to off-duty law enforcement, Cristie Hopkins, director of media relations for the Sheriff’s Office, said.
“When a police officer hears an active incident, their first instinct is to go and offer assistance,” Hopkins said.
At Rite Aid, Aberdeen Police Department officers, who were training nearby, were the first to respond.
“We need to know how to organize, manage those resources,” she said.
Cooperation among all law enforcement agencies “went very well” in the hours after the Advanced Granite shooting, Davis said.
“We still had a shooter on the loose. The ATF and FBI very quickly offered help,” as did numerous other agencies, he said.
The Maryland State Police fugitive unit and the FBI and U.S. Marshal Service took over the search for Prince, so the Sheriff’s Office could manage the shooting scene. The FBI also offered its tipline, which the Sheriff’s Office put to use.
“Nobody was trying to take any glory, trying to take over our investigation. Everybody just wanted to know what they could do to help with the investigation” to bring it to an end, Davis said.
Davis said law enforcement also wants to improve in its handling of the reunification of employees in terms of those who need to be interviewed, reuniting them with their families and what to do if his or her vehicle is part of a crime scene and they can’t get home, Davis said.
“It’s not that anything went bad, but it can always go better,” Davis said.
“We’ve seen what can go right, and things that can go wrong first-hand, which is a whole other level of training, so we work to get better each time,” he said.
Aegis staff member David Anderson contributed to this report.