Suspect In Custody After Overnight Barricade In Wicomico County
March 7, 2017
(WILLARDS, MD) — A Wicomico County man is in State Police custody this morning after he barricaded himself inside a house overnight, following an armed confrontation with his pregnant girlfriend and her 3-year old son.
The man is identified as Alex Bartell, 25, who since yesterday had been staying at a house owned by his girlfriend’s mother in the 36,000-block of Poplar Neck Road in Willards, Md. After consultation with the Wicomico County State’s Attorney, Bartell is charged this morning with three counts of attempted first degree murder, three counts of attempted second degree murder, multiple counts of first and second degree assault, reckless endangerment, and false imprisonment. Bartell his currently being guarded by Maryland State Troopers while receiving medical treatment at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center for an injury sustained in the incident.
Bartell’s girlfriend is being treated at Peninsula Regional Medical Center for injuries reportedly sustained during an altercation prior to the barricade. Her 3 year old son did not sustain any injuries and is at PRMC with his mother.
Shortly after 10:00 p.m. yesterday, Maryland State Police at the Salisbury Barrack were called to assist the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office with a barricade situation at a home in the 36,000-block of Poplar Neck Road in Willards. Troopers were advised Bartell was inside the residence with several shotguns.
The suspect, identified as Alex Bartell, was allegedly inside the home and locked in a bedroom when sheriff deputies arrived. Bartell’s girlfriend, who was inside the home with her 3 year old son, had attempted to call police at 9:50 p.m. However, when the 9-1-1 call came through as a hang-up, sheriff deputies were dispatched for a welfare check on the home.
When sheriff deputies knocked on the front door, the girlfriend answered. She was obviously distressed, alerting police that Bartell had assaulted her and that he was in a back bedroom with several weapons. Deputies attempted to engage Bartell in conversation while he was in the locked bedroom.
He was heard breaking things and moments later, police heard a single gunshot fired from within the bedroom. Deputies immediately evacuated the woman and her son from the home.
As deputies continued to engage Bartell in conversation, he repeatedly fired off rounds from his weapon within the residence. The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office subsequently requested assistance from the Maryland State Police. Troopers from the Salisbury Barrack responded.
Knowing Bartell was armed and due to the threats he made, troopers and sheriff deputies established a perimeter around the home and called for the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT), and a hostage negotiator to respond. Neighboring residences were also evacuated.
An off duty, seven year veteran of the Maryland State Police and a three-year member of the Special Tactical Assault Team Element, or STATE Team, heard the call for service and also responded to the scene. Upon his arrival, he integrated himself with the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, (SERT), and assumed a tactical position along with other team members.
Police negotiators communicated with Bartell on his cell phone and attempted to convince him throughout the night to come out. He refused police requests to surrender and continued to fire off several rounds inside the residence throughout the night.
Bartell was seen several times inside the home, near the front door and with more than one gun in his possession. The front door was wide open, providing visibility inside the residence. On several occasions, Bartell was visibly pointing his weapon directly at police positioned behind patrol vehicles in front of the house. He was also heard yelling while breaking items within the home.
At about 2:10 a.m. today, Bartell was at the front door pointing what appeared to be a shotgun at troopers and deputies. At that time, the Maryland State Police STATE Team member fired one round from his agency issued firearm, striking Bartell in his right arm. Bartell immediately dropped his weapon and surrendered to police. He was taken into custody and emergency medical service personnel on scene immediately rendered aid.
Alex Bartell was transported to the Peninsula Regional Medical Center and later to Shock Trauma in Baltimore. Following his release from the hospital, he will have his initial appearance before a court commissioner.
There were no other reported injuries on scene. No other shots were fired by police during the incident. The STATE Team member who fired the one shot has been placed on administrative leave.
State Police investigators are obtaining a search warrant for the house where Bartell was located and will be conducting a search later this morning. In addition to the gun Bartell was seen carrying, investigators believe there may be additional firearms in the residence.
The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit is the lead in the investigation. Assistance during this situation was provided by a number of public safety agencies. They included the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, Willards Volunteer Fire Department, Pittsville Volunteer Fire Department, State Police investigators from the Criminal Enforcement Division, Lower Shore Region, troopers from the Salisbury Barrack, the Criminal Enforcement Division, and crime scene technicians from the Forensic Sciences Division.
The investigation is continuing