|Wednesday, February 16, 2011 – Scott Wykoff|
|A Delaware man is under Maryland State Police guard at a Baltimore hospital where he is being treated for wounds he sustained when he allegedly drove his truck at a Worcester County deputy sheriff after he was caught in the act of theft from a Berlin business last night.The accused is identified as Matthew N. Collins, 28, of the 33000-block of Cowhouse Branch Road, Millsboro, Delaware. Maryland State Police have obtained an arrest warrant charging him with first degree assault, second degree assault, reckless endangerment, and theft under $1,000. This warrant will be served on him as soon as he is medically able to have an initial appearance before a court commissioner at the hospital.
The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office deputy is identified as Corporal Katie Edgar. Cpl. Edgar is a seven-year law enforcement veteran and has served with the sheriff’s office for about five years.
Worcester County Sheriff Reggie Mason contacted the Maryland State Police last night and requested that Homicide Unit investigators conduct the investigation into a police involved shooting. State Police Homicide Unit investigators responded and were assisted by investigators from the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation and the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office. State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby responded to the scene and has been personally consulted by investigators.
The preliminary investigation indicates that shortly before 10:00 p.m. yesterday, Cpl. Edgar, who is a K-9 handler, responded to a 911 call for a reported burglary in progress at Venables Electric, in the 10000-block of Old Worcester Highway (Rt. 575) in Berlin. The witness reported that a vehicle had pulled to the rear of the business and a person appeared to be attempting to enter the building.
Initial information indicates that when Cpl. Edgar arrived, she got out of her patrol vehicle with her dog. Almost immediately, a Ford F-150 pickup truck drove from the rear of the building. Cpl. Edgar, who had her .45 caliber department-issued pistol drawn, attempted to stop the truck.
The truck, being driven by Collins, stopped several feet in front of the corporal. Cpl. Edgar gave repeated verbal commands to Collins to surrender.
Collins, who was alone in the truck, ignored those commands and accelerated, driving directly toward the corporal. In fear for her life, Cpl. Edgar fired her pistol at the driver.
Cpl. Edgar was able to avoid being struck by the truck. Collins drove out of the lot and turned left on Rt. 575. Cpl. Edgar pursued Collins in her patrol car. The pursuit continued onto Carey Road and then to northbound Rt. 113.
Once on Rt. 113, Collins stopped the truck and surrendered to Cpl. Edgar and two other deputies who had responded to the pursuit. The deputies saw Collins had sustained gunshot wounds and immediately provided emergency care and summoned assistance.
Collins was flown by a Maryland State Police helicopter initially to the Peninsula Regional Medical Center and then on to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. At this time, his wounds are not believed to be life-threatening.
Crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police and the Ocean City Police Department responded to the scenes and spent the night collecting evidence. The truck driven by Collins has been taken to the Berlin Barrack where it will be processed later today pursuant to a search warrant. Investigators can see several air conditioning units in the bed of the truck, which are believed to have been stolen from Venables Electric. One unit fell off the truck during the pursuit.
Investigators learned there had been air conditioning units located outside the rear of Venables Electric. It does not appear Collins gained entry into the building before the corporal arrived.
The investigation is continuing.