Suspect eludes police after assault

Search for Monkton man puts area schools on alert

September 28, 2004|By Lisa Goldberg and Sara Neufeld | Lisa Goldberg and Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police were searching yesterday for a man who they say threatened his ex-girlfriend twice on Saturday, once with a knife and once with a shotgun, and fled from officers who later tracked him to his Monkton home.

The search for Larry Duane Thomas, 41, led four northern county schools to be placed on alert yesterday and prompted recreation officials to move a youth soccer game outside the immediate area.

At Hereford Middle School and Prettyboy, Seventh District and Fifth District elementary schools, recess and physical education classes were held indoors, and at those schools that did not have locked entrances the front doors were closely monitored, school officials said.

"We just thought it would be a wise thing to do because we don't know if this person has been apprehended," said Carolyn Grimsley, Prettyboy's principal. "We always err on the side of protecting our children, so that's what we've done. ... There are many children in our school building who don't know that anything was different today."

The search for Thomas -- who was on probation for two criminal convictions this year -- started early Saturday after two incidents nearly four hours apart in the county's White Hall area, said Officer Shawn Vinson, a county police spokesman.

Police were called to the 19600 block of Burke Road just before 3:45 a.m. Saturday after Thomas' ex-girlfriend, Crystal Jones, 23, said he had threatened her with a knife, Vinson said.

Thomas -- who was under a court order to stay away from Jones -- had left the residence by the time officers arrived, but returned just before 7:30 a.m., forced his way in through a back door and threatened her with a shotgun, the spokesman said.

Jones ran out of the house, and her mother, Shirley Ann Wilson, 41, struggled with Thomas over the gun, Vinson said. During the struggle, a shot was fired, but no one was hit and the suspect left, he said.

Officers later went to Thomas' home in the 17100 block of Big Falls Road in Monkton, but before they could surround the house, Thomas fled into the woods with the shotgun, Vinson said.

The gun was found near his house later Saturday, Vinson said. Police do not know whether Thomas is still armed, but believe he might have access to other weapons, Vinson said.

Except for one sighting by a neighbor about 1 p.m. Saturday, Thomas has not been seen since he fled his home, according to Vinson.

Thomas was on probation for drug possession but allowed to remain free after being charged in Baltimore in April with assault, false imprisonment and other offenses in an incident involving Jones. A judge in the city's Eastside District Court ordered Thomas to stay away from her, according to court records.

Still on probation in the drug case, Thomas was convicted of theft last Wednesday in the Towson District Court, fined $200 and given another release on probation, court records show.

A warrant has been issued in the latest incident, charging Thomas with attempted first-degree murder, burglary and assault, Vinson said.

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