CRIME

Police: Two shooting crimes in Montgomery County connected

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OLNEY, Md. (WJLA) - Police have identified the victim of Monday night's homicide in Olney as 23-year-old Marc Taylor St. Aubin, a resident of the home where the incident occurred.

The sound of gunfire around 10:30 p.m. Monday led police to an upscale home along the 15800 block of Laughlin Lane in Olney -- a house neighbors describe as "troubled."

Responding officers drove up the home's snow-covered driveway, where they found an adult male lying dead from "trauma" to his body.

Soon thereafter, a second adult male arrived at nearby Montgomery General Hospital with at least one critical gunshot wound. Police say the crimes are connected.

"It was just a rainbow effect, blue and red lights everywhere," neighbor Greg Wenzel recalled.

Wenzel and his wife and mother-in-law were warm and cozy watching "12 Years a Slave" when they heard a chorus of loud voices outside. Wenzel walked to his wraparound porch to investigate the noise, when he spotted a fresh set of shoe prints in his snowy-white front yard; tracks police later analyzed with a flashlight.

"How do we process it? We just take it as an outlier, an anomaly. This crime doesn't constitute the whole neighborhood, that I'm aware of," surmised Wenzel, who moved to the area 10 years ago.

The neighborhood, which consists of 13 oversized homes, each situated on a two-acre parcel of land, is not synonymous with crime; a fact neighbors are proud of.

"A girlfriend of mine texted me at 6:30 [a.m.] and asked, 'are you all right,'" resident Phyllis Bottegal remarked.

Bottegal, who watched local news coverage of the cold-blooded murder throughout the morning, admits she was shocked by the crime, but not its location.

"When I heard there was a shooting, right away I had no doubts it was going to be the house on the corner, the rental," Bottegal added.

Neighbors like Bottegal contend the corner house wasn't an issue until last summer, when the owners moved overseas for work. When the $750,000 two-story, red brick home didn't attract any alluring bids, the couple chose to rent it. The renters, residents say, have since attracted "riff-raff" to a traditional neighborhood of doctors, lawyers and small business owners.

"Some of the neighbors have seen a lot of suspicious activity going on," Bottegal commented. "Parties, people in the streets, trash everywhere, and the police had been called prior."

Although investigators kept tight-lipped Tuesday, a police department spokesman acknowledged detectives were working to determine if illegal activity spurred the double shooting.

"I mean, we just moved in in August, but I thought it was a pretty safe neighborhood," Xu Chen said. "I don't know how to feel about all this now."

Chen, a student at Montgomery College, lives with his parents, siblings and grandfather, directly across the street from the homicide scene.

"The police came to our door. They just asked a bunch of questions like, if there was a gunshot, if we saw a suspicious character, stuff like that," Chen added.

Officers dispatched to Montgomery General Hospital overnight spoke with the injured adult male. Police would not divulge if they considered him a suspect or not.

As of Tuesday evening, no arrests had been made, or a clear number of suspects identified, in what is Montgomery County's eighth homicide of 2014.

"It's just so weird. This is just not the street you'd ever think this would happen on, and it happened because somebody did something they shouldn't have been doing," Bottegal concluded.

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