An argument over spilled food during an Easter dinner in Anne Arundel County ended in gunfire yesterday afternoon, leaving a 24-year-old man in critical condition today and his stepfather in police custody.
James Franklin Sommerville of Annapolis was shot once in the chest during the argument, which started at the dinner table and ended across the street from the home in the 600 block of Echo Cove Drive, near Crownsville, police said.
Mr. Sommerville was taken by ambulance to North Arundel Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.
He was then flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was in critical condition today following surgery last night, a hospital spokesman said.
Raymond Louis Jefferson, 50, who lives in the Crownsville home, was charged last night with assault with a handgun, assault with intent to murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony.
A county homicide detective would not comment on the case last night, and police could provide few details of the argument or exactly how it started. The shooting occurred about 3:45 p.m.
Police said Mr. Jefferson was arrested about 15 minutes after the shooting when county officers stopped the car he was driving on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near Waterview Avenue in Baltimore.
Joseph Jefferson, Mr. Sommerville's brother, said the shooting marred an Easter celebration for about 15 members of his family, including some who came from as far away as North Carolina.
He said some family members were still eating their Easter dinner when his brother and his stepfather began arguing over "something stupid. . . . I would say a conflict in attitudes -- that's the best I can come up with," Joseph Jefferson said.
"Just a family dispute," said another family member who would not give her name. "It just escalated."