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Cops say shooting probably was not random

July 03, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Washington County Sheriff's deputies on Monday continued to investigate a shooting Sunday morning at a Youngstoun Court apartment that left a Hagerstown man dead and a second man in custody, Investigator Chris Weaver said.

Police do not think the shooting was random, and investigators believe at least one of the men involved contacted at least one of the women who lived in the apartment before the incident, Weaver said Monday afternoon.

When deputies responded to a call for shots fired Sunday at about 3:40 a.m., they found James Michael Conely, 32, dead in a bedroom.

According to charging documents, the apartment's occupants - Carri Humphrey, 22, and Michelle Reeder, 24 - were preparing for bed at about 3 a.m. Sunday when someone knocked at their door. Humphrey said she looked through the peephole and saw a man who looked like another resident of the building, documents state.

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She opened the door, and Conely, carrying a rifle and covering his face with a red bandanna, rushed into the apartment, documents state. Humphrey said she screamed to Reeder to get her handgun. Conely then pushed Humphrey into a closet door, hit her in the face and head with his fist, and pointed his gun at her, documents state.

Reeder said she fired several shots at Conely, court documents show. After a struggle, she also stabbed him in the back, according to court documents.

Another man, Michael John Watkins, 21, was charged with first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary, first-, third- and fourth-degree conspiracy to commit burglary and two counts each of attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted theft and conspiracy to commit theft.

Watkins was being held Monday night at the Washington County Detention Center on $500,000 bond, a woman in the jail's booking office said.

Autopsy reports show that Conely was shot twice and stabbed once, but which wound was fatal has not been determined, Weaver said.

Conely was charged in March with second-degree assault after he allegedly hit someone leaving a convenience store on Burhans Boulevard, court documents show. The victim fell face first and was kicked and stomped on, and some of his belongings were taken, documents show.

Conely was scheduled for a July 6 appearance in Washington County Circuit Court.

Watkins faces burglary and theft charges in a Feb. 10 breaking and entering at Personal Hair Design, 17563 Yorktown Road. He is scheduled to appear in court July 19 in that case.

Anyone with information about the shooting, or about Conely's and Watkins' whereabouts on the evening before the shooting, may call Weaver at 240-313-2186.

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