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Randolph Avenue residents not surprised by shooting

Hagerstown Police are treating Steven Andrew O'Brien's death as a homicide

April 23, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

With the specter of criminal activity in their neighborhood, several residents who live on Randolph Avenue in Hagerstown said they weren’t surprised that a man was fatally shot in his apartment over the weekend.

Stacey Benedict, of 106 Randolph Ave., said Monday she heard the gunshot that claimed the life of 26-year-old Steven Andrew O’Brien on Saturday night.

“I knew it wasn’t good,” she said of hearing the shot. “I’ll never forget that noise.”

Benedict said she walked upstairs to O’Brien’s apartment and knocked on the door after she heard the shot.

“He didn’t answer,” she said.

Hagerstown Police Lt. Tom Langston said officers were called to O’Brien’s second-floor apartment at 7:10 p.m. Saturday after a family member found his body.

Police were told by witnesses that they saw two males leaving the area shortly after the shooting.

An autopsy that was conducted on the body over the weekend in Baltimore determined that O’Brien died of a single gunshot wound.

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“It does appear to be a homicide,” Langston said. “We’re treating it as a homicide. There’s nothing to indicate it was self-inflicted.”

Benedict and a few other people who live or work in the neighborhood said the recent criminal activity is distressing.

Kimberly Drees said she has lived at 108 Randolph Ave. for more than 20 years.

Open drug deals involving pills, crack cocaine and heroin are nothing new, she said. People also sell food stamps, Drees said, and a number of years ago, a man gunned down a woman on the sidewalk across the street from her house.

“It’s sad,” she said of O’Brien’s shooting death. “He was a young kid. He didn’t deserve to die like that.”
A woman who works nearby said she didn’t want to be identified for safety reasons.

She said she works with the door locked and tries to leave before sundown.

“I’m not surprised (someone was shot) in this neighborhood,” the woman said. “There’s a drug dealer right across the street ... I’ve lost customers because of the neighborhood. Some people are afraid to come to this area because it’s so bad.”

The woman said people wander the streets and try to use the bathroom at her place of business. At times, she said, drug deals are done out in the open.

“They’re very bold,” she said. “They just do it right on the street.”

Langston said anyone with information about the shooting may call police at 301-790-3700.

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