Three killed in mass shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland

Three killed in mass shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland

At around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, a lone gunman entered Columbia Machine, a manufacturing facility in Smithsburg, Maryland and shot four people, killing three. After fleeing the scene, a member of the Maryland State Police confronted the suspect. He then shot the trooper, wounding his shoulder. The trooper returned fire, injuring the suspect. Members of the Maryland State Police arrested the suspect. The trooper and the suspect were both transported to Meritus Medical Center. The trooper left the hospital last night.

The shooter remains in the hospital. I feel sorry for the staff at Meritus who now have to care for this individual. They don’t deserve this. I spent time at Meritus and I can honestly say the people who work there are some of the finest people in the world. They are heros in the truest sense of the word.

Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore identified the deceased as:

  • Mark Alan Frey, 50
  • Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31
  • Joshua Robert Wallace, 30

Brandon Chase Michael, 42, was identified as the wounded victim.

They have yet to identify the shooter. We know only that he’s a 23-year-old from nearby West Virginia. He used a semi-automatic handgun, not an AR-15 assault-style rifle in the shooting. That makes sense. Handguns, not rifles, get used in the vast majority of mass shootings.

Three killed in mass shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland - Bent Corner

Smithsburg is the last place I would ever expect a mass shooting to take place. It’s located to the east of Hagerstown. I used to drive through Smithsburg every day when I worked in Thurmont, Maryland. I always liked Smithsburg. It’s what I imagined Maryland looked like before ever setting foot here.

So far, there’s no motive for this senseless act of violence. Personally, I don’t care about the motive. I’m sure mental illness will get the blame, even though mental illness is almost never a factor in mass shootings. It doesn’t matter why this shooter did what he did. What matters is that he did it. He killed three innocent people.

The pain he caused to both his victims and to their loved ones is insurmountable. I cannot imagine what they are going through right now.


Three killed in mass shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland - Bent Corner
Joe Louis Esquivel

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office identified the killer as Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of Hedgesville, West Virginia.

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