A 20-gauge shotgun believed to be the weapon used in the slaying of the owner of a Melrose hardware store during a robbery March 25 has been found, state police at the Westminster Barracks said.
The Stoeger-brand, single-shot weapon was found about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday by police and members of an anti-crime group who searched a hilly and wooded area behind the store.
The shotgun was taken to the Maryland State Police crime lab in Pikesville for ballistic tests.
The victim, Charles W. Therit Jr., 51, owner of a hardware and sporting goods store on Hanover Pike in Melrose, was killed when he was shot in the face point-blank during the robbery.
Michael C. Bryson, 25, of no fixed address, was arrested Monday at his parents' home on East Deep Run Road and charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and theft in the case.
Police said the shotgun was one of several rifles and shotguns in the store's inventory and was reported missing shortly after Mr. Therit was killed.
The shotgun shell that killed Mr. Therit was taken from a box of 20-gauge shells in the store, police said. Its casing was found on the floor of the store near the cash register.
Police said Mr. Bryson was arrested after his fingerprints were found on the shell casing.
Since his arrest, Mr. Bryson has been held without bail in the Carroll County Detention Center.