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Subject of Sharpsburg-area manhunt turns himself in to police

Terry Allen Porter, charged with 14 firearms violations, was being held Friday on a $75,000 bond

November 30, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN and DON AINES | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com and dona@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG — A Sharpsburg area man who was the subject of a massive search by police Thursday afternoon turned himself in to Maryland State Police on Friday and was charged with 14 firearms violations, according to the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office and Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore.

Terry Allen Porter, 46, of 4433 Mills Road, was being held on $75,000 bond Friday night at the Washington County Detention Center, according to a jail spokesperson.

State police on Thursday issued a warrant for Porter on charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a rifle or shotgun and being a felon in possession of a firearm, court records said.

That warrant was dismissed Friday by the State’s Attorney’s Office and supplanted with a new charging document, Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph Michael said.

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“Upon review of the charges and evidence, and consultation with state police, the initial warrant was dismissed while the state police continued their investigation,” Michael said Friday evening. “Those charges have been supplanted by a corrected charging document,” he said.

Those charges were seven counts of possession of a firearm after conviction of a drug felony and seven charges of possession of a shotgun or rifle after conviction on a disqualifying offense, Assistant State’s Attorney Leon Debes said.

State police issued a press release after 6 p.m. Friday that said Porter turned himself in at the Hagerstown Barrack at 9:30 a.m., and that he and his attorney met with investigators.

Police went to Porter’s home Friday and seized a rifle and a shotgun, the release said. That was in addition to two rifles and three shotguns recovered Thursday night, the release said.

The confirmation that Porter was at the detention center was the first acknowledgment that he was the subject of Thursday’s manhunt.

Earlier Friday, a day after FBI agents, Maryland State Police, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies, two special response units and others descended on an area south of Sharpsburg for a massive manhunt, authorities had little to say about what they were doing, why they were doing it and for whom they were searching.

Police called off the operation Thursday at about 7 p.m., about seven hours after it began. No one was charged and police did not have an arrest warrant for the occupant of the house, Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said Friday.

Before the operation ended, law enforcement officers surrounded Porter’s home on Mills Road, and other officers, armed with a warrant went inside, Shipley said Thursday.

Although neighbors on Mills Road and friends and acquaintances elsewhere said they knew whose house authorities had entered and the identify of the man being sought, police were mum.

“Nobody has been charged and it would be unfair to the person” to reveal his identify, Shipley said Friday.
Police also would not confirm the address searched.

“The Maryland State Police received information about an individual living at that address who may possess illegal firearms,” Shipley said.

Attempts to reach Porter were unsuccessful Friday. He did not answer calls to his cell phone or home phone.

Shipley said he could not say if the search was still in progress Friday or how the state police received information about the man.

The exact number of police at the scene Thursday was unavailable Friday.

Shipley said they numbered in the “dozens” but said he did not have an exact number of agencies or personnel.

1st Sgt. Kevin Lewis of the Maryland State Police Hagerstown Barrack said Friday he could not confirm anything related to the case.

“This was not a Hagerstown Barracks case,” he said. “We were assisting.”

There was no visible activity in the area Friday morning.

Heather Hamilton, 35, who lives at 18809 Burnside Bridge Road, around the corner from Porter’s house, said Friday that a Maryland State Police trooper went to her home Thursday to talk to her about what was going on and mentioned that it was regarding a man she had known since childhood.

“You had helicopters flying over, SWAT crews down here, excavation equipment was brought in, and armored vehicles,” she said. “It was ridiculous for (the man), who would not hurt another person for anything. Unless you would attack him, he’s not going to go after anyone.”

She said she viewed the operation as “a big waste of taxpayer money.”

Hamilton, who lives with her husband, Bruce, and her mother, Diane Harrell, is one of the owners of Harrell’s Services, which provides heating, ventilation and air conditioning sales, services and installations and is operated out of her house. She said she grew up across the street from Porter before he moved to his current home.

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