Victim's attorney seeks arrest in fatal shooting at warehouse

During break-in, man was killed, two wounded

March 22, 2001|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

An attorney for one of the men apparently shot by a Glyndon business owner during a break-in launched a blistering attack yesterday on Baltimore County prosecutors for not immediately filing charges against the suspected shooter.

Leonard H. Shapiro, a former county prosecutor, said the case should not go to a grand jury because there is overwhelming evidence that the shooting, which left one man dead and two wounded, was not in self-defense.

"We think the fact the owners of the business have not yet been charged borders on the ridiculous," Shapiro said. "This is a murder. You don't lay in wait and kill people."

Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst, who is in charge of the case, said this week that she probably will ask a grand jury to decide whether criminal charges should be filed. Brobst must first review the case, which is being investigated by homicide detectives.

Brobst, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, has said it could be several weeks before the case goes to a grand jury.

Shapiro wants the suspected gunman arrested, charged and jailed. Seated in his office and holding a law book yesterday afternoon, Shapiro said Maryland law clearly states that business owners may not use deadly force to stop someone from stealing property.

Shapiro represents Justin Storto, 21, who was wounded during the incident at Back River Supply Inc. in the 12200 block of Owings Mills Blvd. Shapiro said yesterday that based on information from his client's family, Storto was shot in the back at close range.

"This was like an execution," Shapiro said.

The incident occurred while the owners of the concrete plant - brothers Dominic A. Geckle, 31, and Matthew J. Geckle, 36 - were keeping an all-night vigil with shotguns at their business. The warehouse had been burglarized twice during the weekend.

Court documents say Storto of Randallstown and Enrico L. Magliarella, a 24-year-old Glyndon resident, were wounded when one of the brothers opened fire after intruders entered the warehouse. Storto and Magliarella will be arrested on burglary warrants when they leave the hospital.

Jonathan B. Steinbach, 24, a Baltimore businessman, died of gunshot wounds at the scene. Baltimore County police said the three men apparently weren't armed. Police recovered two shotguns from the brothers, but court documents indicate that only Dominic Geckle, president of the business, fired his weapon.

"Dominic Geckle advised that he discharged shotgun rounds at the suspects inside the business," the documents say. "The suspects were injured as a result of Dominic Geckle's actions."

Bill Toohey, a police spokesman, said both guns will be analyzed for evidence. He refused to comment on why no arrest has been made in the shooting.

Shapiro said he believes his client and Magliarella were shot in the back as they attempted to flee. Storto has severe internal injuries and more than 20 shotgun pellet wounds in the back of his torso and legs, he said.

"It would be impossible to generate those injuries with one volley of shotgun fire," Shapiro said. Steinbach appeared to have been shot in the head and abdomen, according to emergency personnel who were at the scene.

Toohey refused to comment on the nature of the victims' injuries.

Officials say the locations of the injuries and where the victims fell are critical to the investigation.

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