A rare spasm of violence in Howard County late Tuesday and early Wednesday sent five shooting victims to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Investigators believe the three shootings two in Laurel, one in Clarksville that took place within a five-hour span were not related to each other.
They were only the second, third and fourth shootings in the county this year.
"We had a very unfortunate night last night," county Police Chief William McMahon told reporters in Ellicott City. "Obviously our thoughts are with the victims and their families. It's very traumatic for them."
A 15-year-old boy was shot in the back in the 9100 block of Hitching Post Lane in Laurel shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday. Initially listed in critical condition at Shock Trauma, he had been upgraded to stable by midday Wednesday.
A 16-year-old friend of the teenager was shot in the face; his condition was upgraded during the day from serious to stable. Police declined to release the name of either boy.
Blood stains remained on a cement walkway in the Whiskey Bottom condominium complex Wednesday.
Lisa Edens lives across a parking lot from the scene.
"I heard four gunshots, I looked out the window and I didn't see anything, then a minute later I heard sirens and then two minutes later [the police] were here," she said.
McMahon said the shooting did not appear be gang related.
The shooting of the two boys was reported at 12:51 a.m. Two minutes later, about two miles away, another shooting was reported at a trailer park in the 100 block of Alma Avenue.
Arthur Thomas, 27, who lives on the street, and Michael Fitchett, 36, whose address is unknown, were shot in the leg after a confrontation with two people who police believe were staying at an Econo Lodge motel next door. Fitchett was listed in serious condition at Shock Trauma; Thomas' condition was upgraded from serious to stable.
Neighbors said Thomas and Fitchett were walking around the trailer park because they had seen two people come up from the hotel who appeared suspicious to them. Thomas and Fitchett asked the strangers what they were doing. The two people left the trailer park and returned a short time later with guns, neighbors said. They said that Thomas told them he had been shot multiple times and couldn't feel his leg. They said Fitchett was also hit multiple times.
A 23-year-old woman who lives with her three young children in a nearby corner unit said that her trailer was hit at least six times. One bullet went through a wall in the kitchen and ended up in the living room.
"I woke my kids up and told them to get down," said the woman, who asked not to be identified. I'm originally from South Baltimore so I know what gunshots are."
Lea Thomson, who has lived in the trailer park for two years, said there have been other incidents involving guests of the motel, including a resident who was beaten last fall with brass knuckles. But Yogi Daya, who said he has owned the property for 15 years, said there is no problem between hotel guests and trailer park residents. Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Schroen said that most of the incidents last year at the motel involved disorderly conduct.
"People [at the hotel] are always drinking and screaming and yelling at my 15-year-old daughter," said Thomson.
The Laurel shootings came hours after a Fort Washington man was shot in the Western part of the county.
Brandon Michael Boswell, 25, of the 900 block of Swan Creek Road in Fort Washington, had traveled with four friends to the 5400 block of Broadwater Lane in Clarksville to meet a man, police said.
Shortly after the man arrived, police said, another car pulled up and a man and a woman wearing masks got out and demanded money. After robbing the group, one of them shot Boswell in the leg, police said.
Initially listed in serious condition at Shock Trauma, Boswell was upgraded to stable. Police are investigating whether the incident was drug related.
The incidents Tuesday and Wednesday came eight days after the first shooting reported in the county this year.
A 25-year-old Ellicott City man was shot in the hand March 30 during what police said was a carjacking attempt outside the Comfort Suites Columbia Gateway in Elkridge. Police were investigating whether that incident involved drugs, spokeswoman Elizabeth Schroen said.
Police have no suspects in the shootings Tuesday and Wednesday, but are looking for a 2003 Chevy Impala with Maryland tags JGA226 in the Alma Avenue shooting.
Police are offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in any of the cases. Anyone with information is asked to call 410-313-STOP. Police said tipsters would remain anonymous.
"We need our community's help in solving each of these cases," McMahon said.
The number of victims Tuesday and Wednesday matched the county's total from all of last year, when there were four shootings, including one fatality on Halloween.