Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No arrests yet in likely gang shootout

No injuries in incidents that left two townhouses, car with multiple bullet holes

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J. Adam Fenster⁄The Gazette
Police said 15 shots were fired at approximately 2:30 a.m. Tuesday into a townhouse on the unit block of State Court in Gaithersburg. No one was injured, but the house was damaged.
This story was corrected on July 10, 2008, from its print version.

More than 20 bullets were fired at two townhouses early Tuesday morning in what police are describing as a possible gang shootout in the Newport Estates community north of East Diamond Avenue and just south of Kelley Park in Gaithersburg. No one was injured in the incident, which police said could be connected to a shooting in Montgomery Village that occurred a few hours earlier.

‘‘It really started with a dispute that occurred earlier with individuals that do know each other,” said Alan Goldberg, commander of the Montgomery County Police 6th District station. ‘‘It wasn’t a random act of violence, stranger on stranger-type thing.”

He added, ‘‘More than one person had a gun, that’s pretty much all I can tell you. We really don’t know who shot at who at this point.”

The earlier shooting occurred at 11:30 p.m. Monday on the 9900 block of Ridgeline Drive. It was followed by another at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday on the unit block of State Court in Gaithersburg, police said.

County police responded to a townhome community for a report of shots fired in the first incident, said Goldberg, who declined to provide additional details citing the ongoing investigation.

Gaithersburg Police Chief John King said in the second incident 15 shots were fired into one townhouse on State Court and four shots were fired into a neighboring townhouse. Several people were in the house hit by 15 bullets at the time, he said.

An unattended car in the parking lot was struck by at least two bullets, ‘‘probably not intentionally,” King said.

The Gazette was not able to reach the residents of the affected townhouses Tuesday.

A woman who lives in the neighborhood said one of the involved townhomes has experienced longtime ‘‘problems.” She pointed out siding where bullet holes had previously been covered over.

No arrests have been made in either incident. Although gang members may have been involved, police have not called the incident gang-related.

Police interviewed potential suspects and are continuing to investigate, Goldberg said.

King promised additional patrols in the area for ‘‘as long as necessary,” he said.

It was also expected that county police would increase patrols in the affected neighborhoods, as is customary in violent cases.

‘‘We increase presence to make the community safer and make people safer,” said Officer Steve Pascali, a county police spokesman.

Photographer J. Adam Fenster contributed to this report.