Investigators test witnesses to shooting

March 01, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Investigators will await results of forensic, drug and alcohol tests performed on two witnesses and the victim of Monday's apparent accidental gunshot death of an 18-year-old Carroll County woman before deciding whether to refer the matter to the state's attorney for possible charges, state police said yesterday.

Sarah V. Mohlmann of the 3400 block of Winterberry Court in Reisterstown was pronounced dead at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, about eight hours after the incident at 2: 45 a.m. at her home.

A 20-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman, friends of the victim, were in the home at the time of the shooting, said Lt. Terry L. Katz, commander at the Westminster barracks. They were questioned and tested for gunshot residue, he said.

The victim's parents, who were out of the country, returned home Monday night and were interviewed.

The friends of the victim have not been charged, Katz said.

"If forensic evidence is consistent with what the witnesses said happened, we believe the shooting will be ruled an accident," Katz said.

As soon as results from an autopsy and the toxic screenings, which could take weeks, are completed, investigators will conclude their investigation and turn over information to Jerry F. Barnes, the state's attorney, Katz said.

Investigators have declined to give details about what happened or identify the weapon.

"It was a handgun and was recovered from inside the victim's home," Katz said. "We have learned it generally was stored in an area that was not readily accessible."

Laws regarding the safe storage of weapons do not apply unless minors younger than age 16 are in the home, Katz said.

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