2 men fatally shot in dispute

Arundel firefighter, his brother killed at St. Mary's house

Suspect takes hostage

October 09, 2001|By Michael Scarcella | Michael Scarcella,SUN STAFF

A dispute yesterday morning at a house in the Great Mills area of St. Mary's County resulted in gunfire, leaving two brothers dead - one of them an off-duty Anne Arundel County firefighter.

State police said the shooting appeared to be the result of a dispute between members of a family who lived in the house. The victims had been installing siding there and had no other connection to the feuding family, police said.

A suspect fled in a sport utility vehicle, firing a shotgun at a pursuing state trooper before running to a trailer home in nearby Calvert County and taking a hostage. The trailer was surrounded by police late last night, with officers attempting negotiations, police said.

Killed were Louis A. Moreland, 39, a veteran Anne Arundel County firefighter, and his brother, whose name was not available. Moreland, a firefighter in Anne Arundel for 18 years, was assigned to the Harwood-Lothian station as an apparatus driver. He installed siding part time, and his brother was a contractor in the business, said Division Chief John M. Scholz, county fire spokesman.

"We're still in shock over the news - and that's an understatement," Scholz said. "Everyone is still in disbelief."

The shooting suspect, also not identified, fled to the community of Solomons, where he abandoned his Ford Explorer and ran through woods to a house trailer where one of the three occupants was being held hostage, police said.

"We received a lookout that was broadcast from St. Mary's County at 11:45 a.m.," said Maj. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman. "The suspect's vehicle was heading north on state Route 4, just north of the Gov. Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge," which crosses the Patuxent River, the border of the two counties.

He crossed the Johnson bridge, under pursuit, and pulled off the road and began firing at the car of Tfc. M.D. Lass, 29, a four-year veteran of the police force.

"The police car was hit at least four times," Shipley said.

The trooper, who rolled out of his cruiser while it was moving, fired back. He saw the man abandon the SUV and run about a quarter-mile through woods. Deputies saw him enter the house trailer, where he was holding the hostage last night.

"There were two women and one man inside the trailer," Shipley said. "He ordered the man and one woman out and kept the other woman hostage."

Shipley said the man entered the trailer carrying a shotgun.

Police were communicating by telephone with the man last night. It was not known whether he had any relationship with the hostage.

Sun staff writers Laura Barnhardt and Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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