MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Only on FOX 5, one Maryland police department is sounding the alarm over what one official source described as "L.A.-style shootings" where a gunman or gunmen indiscriminately open fire in an area instead of directly targeting the person they may be after.
It’s something we’ve seen in the District. However, Montgomery County Police say this is a newer phenomenon of concern for them. Assistant Chief of the Montgomery County Police Resources Bureau, Carmen Facciolo, would not use the words "L.A.-style shootings" when speaking to FOX 5 on camera. He did say:
"The difference in crime that we’re seeing is that they are more reckless – a use of crime that didn’t really happen in small communities before that is spilling over from other jurisdictions," said Facciolo.
A shooting by the DC-Maryland Boarder late Saturday afternoon appears to be one of those "L.A.-style shooting incidents."
At least 13 bullet holes were found on the store-front of a check cashing business. A nearby skin care business and cleaners are among the other businesses also riddled with bullets.
"Oh, still people afraid you know. She – didn’t come to work today," said Asgid Bajwa, the "Check Depot" Co-Owner of an employee inside their store at the time of the shooting. Bajwa said the employee called him crying and said he’s grateful none of his customers or staff were seriously hurt.
The shooting happened at little before 4:30 p.m. on the 7800 block of Georgia Avenue in Downtown Silver Spring – a time when people were eating outdoors at the nearby restaurants or running errands in the area.
Witnesses say it happened so quickly and described "rapid fire." FOX 5 did hear one investigator say the bullet hole appears to be from a rifle round.
When the shooting happened, FOX 5 was originally told at least one person was shot in the hand. Police walked us through the area on Monday to show how the scene was much more intense than originally shared.
"The owner, she’s really shaken-up. She hasn’t gotten sleep in the last couple of days. The other full time esthetician -- she’s a new mom so everyone’s just on edge right now," said "Kimo Bentley Aesthetic Clinic" manager Kia Rayford. Rayford told FOX 5 their Black Female-owned business isn’t even a month-in-a-half old yet – and that she moved out of the District to Howard County, Maryland to get away from this type of violence not expecting to see it at her place of work.
"To open up a business during a pandemic is hard within itself. We haven’t even been open a total of two months," said Rayford, also said they really can’t afford to pay for the damage.
What is the Montgomery County Police Department doing to address this?
First, we’re told with the Saturday shooting and other shootings seen more frequently in White Oak and in Wheaton: they know youths are involved.
Secondly, Facciolo told FOX 5 they are using the former School Resource Officers. SROs are a hot-button topic in the county.
The Assistant Chief told FOX 5 about three weeks ago, police and Montgomery County Public School leaders developed a strategy that includes the now "Community Engagement Officers" walking beats and engaging with youths outside of the school building. The CEOs are also supposed to be tracking every time they engage with a young person – as a way to possibly track if there’s any impact.
Facciolo said they’ve already marked over 1,000 "impressions" with youths and will be more visible in the Downtown Silver Spring area, especially.