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Slaying suspect arrested

May 26, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

A man wanted on murder charges in connection with a March homicide at a Hagerstown apartment complex was arrested Tuesday when he got off a Greyhound Bus south of Hagerstown, Lt. Richard Johnson of the Hagerstown Police Department said.

Azaniah "Azzy" Blankumsee, 26, of no fixed address, was arrested without incident about 4:50 p.m. at the Greyhound bus terminal at 10429 Sharpsburg Pike, Johnson said Tuesday night.

Blankumsee was wanted in connection with the March 14 shooting death of 19-year-old Jonathan Manuel Dennis at Washington Gardens Apartments.

Police received an anonymous tip indicating when Blankumsee would be arriving in town by bus, Johnson said. Hagerstown police, working with Maryland State Police, were waiting for Blankumsee when he arrived on a bus from Silver Spring, Md., he said.

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Blankumsee, 26, was charged in a warrant 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, Johnson said in a news release.

Blankumsee also was charged in a federal warrant obtained by the FBI with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, police said.

Blankumsee was scheduled to have an initial appearance and bond determination at Hagerstown District Court late Tuesday, Commissioner Timothy Haven said. Because Blankumsee is charged with murder he automatically will be denied bond, Haven said.

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. Dennis, of Waynesboro, Pa., and another man went outside to wait for a ride home and were escorted by other men in the group out of fear there might be trouble with Blankumsee and his associates, Johnson said.

Dennis was not present during an earlier altercation with Blankumsee, but had been told of previous problems, Johnson said.

While outside, the group saw Blankumsee and two other men about 50 to 75 feet away, police said.

Blankumsee is accused of 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, he said.

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