ROCKVILLE – Four defendants charged in connection with a June 13 county gun store burglary, marked by the second officer-involved shooting of 2019, must wait a week to find out when their next hearing is.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Robert Greenberg on Aug. 16 granted attorneys’ joint oral motion to postpone a scheduling hearing due to a “calendar conflict,” according to court documents.
On June 13, five suspects rammed a vehicle into the front of United Gun Shop in North Bethesda and stole multiple regulated firearms. The June burglary of United Gun Shop marked the second officer- involved shooting by Montgomery County Police (MCP) of 2019.
Five individuals reportedly rammed a car, which police confirmed had been stolen, into the gun store and stole firearms; one person tried to ram a second car into a police cruiser with a police officer standing nearby. The officer’s gun discharged during the time of the incident, and one of the suspects ended up dying. The officer was placed on leave as per protocol.
The second car, which had been hit by a bullet from the officer’s weapon, became disabled after the suspects started driving on a nearby highway. Police reported that the suspects left the vehicle and fled the scene on foot. Police later determined a vehicle had picked up the suspects and drove them to Anne Arundel County.
A Maryland Grand Jury on Aug. 1 indicted Michael S. Manuel, 25; Antonio Thomas Jerma Matthews, 16; Brandon A. Jackson, 17; and Mirakle J. Smith, age 20 – all of whom live in Anne Arundel County – in connection with the June 13 burglary of United Gun Shop. Greenberg ordered that the four cases be administratively joined.
While MCP had arrested and charged three of the defendants facing charges in the crime, Matthews was never in custody of MCP, and never charged him. According to Matthews’ indictment, a grand jury indicted him based on information from the state’s attorney’s office’s investigation of the crime.
Several of the defendants or respondents in the case are being held without bond, the most recent being Smith. On Aug. 14, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin ruled to move Smith, charged with second-degree burglary of a gun store in the June 13 burglary, to a no-bond status in the interest of protecting public safety.
Rubin said in court that given the nature of charges Smith faces, including second-degree burglary of firearms, conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary of firearms, possession of a stolen regulated firearms to sell, transfer or dispose of, and possession of firearms under age 21 – Smith is a risk to public safety.
“Let’s not stand on the ceremony. She was the (alleged) wheelman,” Rubin said of Smith before announcing his decision.
The prosecutor said that text messages obtained by the state show that Smith was aware of the burglary before it occurred.
Next, Rubin said he made his decision for the ruling.
“Given the gravity (of the situation) (…) I find she’s a danger to public safety,” Rubin (responded) after the prosecutor spoke.
Earlier in the hearing, Smith said by video conference that she never graduated from high school, and she is trying to earn her General Education Development certification (GED). Lately, she applied to several jobs. She said that she spends all day applying to jobs.
Rubin said he was skeptical that Smith spent all her time applying for jobs.
“I would do anything to keep myself out of trouble,” Smith replied.
A grand jury indicted Smith on four new charges on Aug. 1.
Another grand jury previously had indicted Smith as an accessory after the burglary had occurred.
“It’s never a good idea to be a getaway car when people are stealing guns,” Rubin said on Aug. 14.
Smith is one of five people whom MCP charged in connection with the United Gun Shop burglary in June.
MCP arrested and charged Jackson, 21-year-old Terrence Massey Jr. and a 15-year-old charged as a minor on June 14. Allegations against individuals by the juvenile justice system are not public record, and so the status of the 15-year-old’s case was not available.
MCP arrested and charged Smith on June 14 and arrested and charged Demico A. Henderson, then 17, on June 25. MCP arrested Manuel a week after charging Henderson, and charged him with second-degree burglary of a firearm. One of the charges is based on Manuel’s criminal history – possession of a firearm with a felony conviction. Manuel carried a robbery conviction, according to court documents, but the records did not list the location of the robbery. MCP also charged him with conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary of a firearm.
Prosecution issued a nolle prosequi notice, indicating it was abandoning all charges against Massey, including second-degree burglary of a firearm, conspiracy to commit second degree burglary of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm to sell or dispose on Aug. 9.
Prosecution issued a nolle prosequi notice in Henderson’s case on July 3, indicating it had dropped charges of second-degree burglary of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a minor.