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Police say bullet explodes after man tries to light it

June 06, 2003

After a man claimed Wednesday night to have been shot at, then stabbed by his girlfriend, police determined the man had injured himself when a .22-caliber bullet exploded while he was holding a lighter to it, Hagerstown City Police said Thursday.

Joseph Franklin Dorman, 21, who lives at the Dagmar Hotel at 50 Summit Ave., has been charged with making a false statement to police and obstructing an investigation.

Dorman also faces two second-degree assault charges. Those were filed because Dorman allegedly head-butted detective Patricia Moulton and then bit detective Steve Hoover on the finger, said Lt. Rick Johnson said.

Moulton did not require medical attention. Hoover was treated at Washington County Hospital for the bite that broke the skin, Johnson said.

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Police believe that Dorman had been holding a lighter to a .22-caliber bullet when it exploded on him, cutting his neck and back, he said.

Johnson said it was not clear why the man was trying to light the bullet.

Johnson said the investigation started at 11:37 p.m. Wednesday, when police were called to Washington County Hospital for a report of a man who had gunshot wounds in his neck and back.

Dorman received three stitches for each wound.

Police alleged he told the responding officer he heard shots while walking in an alley between East Avenue and Franklin Street, Johnson said.

When detectives arrived, Dorman told them a .22-caliber bullet had exploded when he was trying to light it with a lighter, Johnson said.

When Moulton and Hoover were ready to arrest him on the false statement charge, he changed his story again, saying his girlfriend had stabbed him, Johnson said.

Dorman became combative at police headquarters, where the detectives were assaulted, Johnson alleged.

Police said they verified the lighter-bullet story with his girlfriend, who said she and her four children were in the home when he lighted the bullet, Johnson said.

Dorman was being held Thursday on $20,000 bond at the Washington County Detention Center after a hearing before a District Court commissioner.

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