ROCKVILLE, Md. - Police arrested the co-owner of Engage Armament in Rockville for shooting at a Montgomery County police officer who was working in an undercover vehicle. The shooting happened amid concerns over recent gun shop burglaries in the region.
Andrew Raymond, 42, was arrested and charged with first-degree assault and use of a firearm in a violent crime/felony.
Montgomery County police said the shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.
"As a result of recent gun store burglaries, Montgomery County police officers were on proactive patrol in the 700 block of East Gude Drive," a police press release states.
Court documents revealed that an officer was doing a business check at the Rockville Federal Firearms License (FFL). At first, the officer drives to the front parking lot in an undercover, maroon SUV. The officer then checks the rear parking lot area.
Officials said as the officer was turning around, he saw someone running towards his SUV while also reaching toward their midsection.
Police said the officer drove off, trying to disengage, and heard two gunshots. The officer then drove onto East Gude Drive but apparently notices the person is still following them.
That's when police said the officer turned on his emergency lights to indicate that he was law enforcement.
FOX 5 was told the gun shop co-owner immediately stopped, dropped his firearm, and threw his hands up. He also apologized to the officer.
Investigators discovered the officer’s unmarked vehicle was struck twice.
Montgomery County Assistant Chief Nicholas Augustine told FOX 5 that the owner of the gun shop did report suspicious vehicles in the past, but not directly before the Tuesday morning shooting.
Police stepped up patrols of firearm businesses due to recent burglaries, but it’s not clear whether this was communicated to the FFL owners.
"The community needs to understand that we’re going to take action when something is reported to us," Asst. Chief Augustine said. "So, whether we’re doing that with marked vehicles or unmarked vehicles, we are taking a proactive stance to identify people who may be responsible for burglaries as well as protect them. So, if they ever see a suspicious vehicle in the area, call the police. Have us respond out there and stay on the phone with us while we are responding. Don’t take action into your own hands of protecting property."
"That’s the big point to hear," the asst. chief added. "The gentlemen was protecting property. He wasn’t protecting his own life. And when we go into that avenue, you don’t know who you’re shooting upon or where those rounds are going. So, it really jeopardizes not only the officers that were involved in this, but the entire community."
FOX 5 has interviewed the co-owner arrested at least once before. An attorney working with the business declined to comment.
Sources believe Raymond was staying longer hours – or possibly overnight – at the Rockville business because of shared concerns about recent gun shop burglaries.
About two weeks ago, FOX 5 reported on the burglary of another Rockville FFL. At least six suspects were seen on cell phone video running from Atlantic Guns after police said a stolen vehicle was used to ram through storefront windows. Sources and a witness said the suspects were seen running with rifles in hand.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is providing support to local police departments in these investigations. The Washington ATF Office confirms seven Virginia FFLs were targeted this year.
The ATF Baltimore Office said at least five incidents were reported in Montgomery and Anne Arundel Counties just last month. Not every incident included the suspects gaining entry. However, multiple incidents did include the use of a vehicle to ram the business.
The ATF confirms Atlantic Guns in Rockville was actually targeted twice in just a few weeks. The first attempt was unsuccessful.
In the most recent Anne Arundel County incident, the ATF confirms a K-9 was used to help arrest two juveniles. A 16-year-old from Silver Spring and a 14-year-old from Gaithersburg are both charged. It’s not clear if the two are connected to the other four Maryland investigations.
"A state-wide notification from ATF has been sent out to all FFLs in Maryland to ensure they are aware of these recent incidents," part of the ATF Baltimore Field Office press release reads.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS, Anne Arundel County Police Department 1-866-7LOCKUP, or Montgomery County Police Department at 1-866-411-TIPS. Rewards are available for information that leads to arrests.