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Murder suspect may have been in the area

May 15, 2004|By PEPPER BALLARD

Since hearing reports that a man wanted on murder charges in connection with a March homicide recently has been seen in the Hagerstown area, the Hagerstown Police Department is issuing another plea for the public's help in finding the man.

Police are looking for Azaniah "Azzy" Blankumsee, who has been charged in connection with the March 14 shooting death of 19-year-old Jonathan Manuel Dennis at Washington Gardens Apartments.

Blankumsee, 26, whose address is unknown, has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, carrying a concealed weapon, use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and illegal possession of a regulated firearm through an arrest warrant, Lt. Richard Johnson said in a written release.

Blankumsee also is charged through the FBI with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Johnson said that after midnight on March 14, a group of people left apartment 958 C in the Security Road apartment complex and walked toward the parking lot. Two men in the group, one of whom was Dennis, were going outside to wait for a ride home and were escorted by other men in the group out of fear that trouble would arise from Blankumsee and his associates, Johnson said. Dennis had not been present during an earlier altercation with Blankumsee, but had been told of previous problems, Johnson said.

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Once outside, the group saw Blankumsee and two other men, who were about 50 to 75 feet away, police allege. Blankumsee allegedly began firing a handgun at the group, Johnson said. About five shots were fired and one of the bullets struck Dennis in the left side of his chest, Johnson said. Dennis died at the scene as a result of the single gunshot wound, he said. A search of the crime scene revealed five shell casings, Johnson said.

Detectives have interviewed a number of family, relatives, friends and associates of Blankumsee in an attempt to locate him, Johnson said.

A reward is being offered for information leading to Blankumsee's arrest, Johnson said. The phone number for the Hagerstown Police Department is 301-739-6000.

- Pepper Ballard

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