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Man charged after standoff

November 09, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

CEARFOSS - A man who police allege fired shots at his girlfriend and threatened to kill a contractor working on his property Monday afternoon kept Maryland State Police at bay for about 45 minutes before surrendering, Maryland State Police said.

Raymond James Hammersla Sr., 45, was charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of reckless endangerment following the incident, police said in a written release.

When police arrived at 14327 Cearfoss Pike at about 1:15 p.m., they learned that Hammersla had fired several shots at his girlfriend, Margaret Thompson, and threatened to kill Ronnie Hull, a contractor working at the property, police alleged.

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Trooper 1st Class Rob Embly said police initially received a call that there was an assault with a gun at 14327 Cearfoss Pike. He said that as police were heading to the scene, they received a report that shots had been fired, followed by another report that a man was pointing a gun at people, Embly said.

When police arrived, Hammersla was holding a rifle, standing outside his tan double-wide trailer, which was on a hill behind a white two-story house, Embly alleged. Hammersla then walked behind the trailer, where police lost sight of him, he said.

At one point during the negotiations, a couple of troopers crouched behind a police cruiser aiming guns in the direction of the trailer.

A man at the scene contacted Hammersla by cell phone and handed the call over to Embly, who talked with Hammersla for about 15 to 20 minutes on and off, he said.

Hammersla told Embly that his girlfriend and his mother, who is about 72 years old, were in the trailer with him, Embly said. Embly said that he asked the girlfriend at one point if everyone was OK inside the trailer and she said, "No, not really.'"

Embly said that Hammersla hung up on police a few times after answering the phone.

Thompson came out of the trailer first, Embly said. Hammersla walked out of the trailer with his hands in the air about 45 minutes after police arrived, he said. Hammersla's mother followed him out of the house, he said.

Traffic in both directions in front of the trailer, which was set back from a bend in the road on Cearfoss Pike, was stopped while Hammersla's surrender was negotiated.

Embly said that no one involved in the incident appeared to be injured.

He said that a state team specializing in hostage negotiations was called in to assist, but they were called off when Hammersla surrendered.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Natural Resources assisted at the scene, police said.

A fire truck and emergency vehicle were parked at Cearfoss Circle in case something happened at the trailer, Embly said.

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