Updated: Suspect Shot After Barricade Situation in Willards - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Suspect Shot After Barricade Situation in Willards

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This home in Willards was the scene of a barricade situation that ended early Tuesday morning. (Photo: WBOC Chopper 16) This home in Willards was the scene of a barricade situation that ended early Tuesday morning. (Photo: WBOC Chopper 16)

WILLARDS, Md.- An overnight barricade situation in Wicomico County ended early Tuesday with an off-duty Maryland State Police sharpshooter wounding the suspect. 

State troopers identified the man as 25-year-old Alex Bartell, who they said had been staying at a house owned by his girlfriend’s mother in the 36000-block of Poplar Neck Road in Willards. Bartell is charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of attempted second-degree murder, multiple counts of first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and false imprisonment. Bartell his currently being guarded by state troopers while receiving medical treatment at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center for an injury sustained in the incident.

Bartell’s girlfriend is being treated at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury for injuries reportedly sustained during an altercation prior to the barricade, according to police. Her 3-year-old son did not sustain any injuries and is at PRMC with his mother.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Monday, Maryland State Police at the Salisbury Barrack were called to assist the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office with a barricade situation at a home in the 36000-block of Poplar Neck Road in Willards.

Troopers were told Bartell was inside the home with several shotguns.

Police said Bartell was allegedly inside the home and locked in a bedroom when sheriff's deputies arrived.  Bartell’s girlfriend, who was inside the home with her 3-year-old son, had attempted to call police at 9:50 p.m. However, when the 9-1-1 call came through as a hang-up, sheriff's deputies were dispatched for a welfare check on the home.

When sheriff's deputies knocked on the front door, the girlfriend answered.

"They were met by a young woman at the door who was very panicked and she advised police that her boyfriend was locked in a bedroom with guns and he had threatened her," said state police spokeswoman Elena Russo. 

According to police, Bartell's girlfriend claimed he had also assaulted her. Deputies attempted to engage Bartell in conversation while he was in the locked bedroom.

Police said Bartell was heard breaking things and moments later, they heard the sound of a single gunshot fired from within the bedroom. Deputies immediately evacuated the woman and her son from the home.

As deputies continued to engage Bartell in conversation, he repeatedly fired off rounds from his weapon within the home, police said. The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office subsequently requested assistance from the Maryland State Police. Troopers from the Salisbury Barrack responded.

Knowing Bartell was armed and due to the threats he made, troopers and sheriff deputies surrounded the home around the home and called for the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, and a hostage negotiator to respond.  Neighboring homes were also evacuated.

Police said an off-duty, seven-year veteran of state police and a three-year member of the Special Tactical Assault Team Element, or STATE Team, heard the call for service and also responded to the scene. Upon his arrival, he integrated himself with the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, and assumed a tactical position along with other team members.

Police negotiators communicated with Bartell on his cellphone and attempted to convince him throughout the night to come out. Authorities said he refused police requests to surrender and continued to fire off several rounds inside the home throughout the night.

Bartell was seen several times inside the home, near the front door and with more than one gun in his possession, police said. They said the front door was wide open, providing visibility inside the home. Police said that on several occasions, Bartell was visibly pointing his weapon directly at police positioned behind patrol vehicles in front of the house. He was also heard yelling while breaking items within the home, investigators said. 

Police said that at about 2:10 a.m. Tuesday, Bartell was at the front door pointing what appeared to be a shotgun at troopers and deputies. At that time, the Maryland State Police STATE Team member fired one round from his agency-issued firearm, striking Bartell in his right arm. Bartell immediately dropped his weapon and surrendered to police.  He was taken into custody and emergency medical service personnel on scene immediately rendered aid.

Alex Bartell was transported to the PRMC and later to Shock Trauma in Baltimore.  Following his release from the hospital, he will have his initial appearance before a court commissioner.

There were no other reported injuries on scene. No other shots were fired by police during the incident, investigators said. The STATE Team member who fired the one shot has been placed on administrative leave, according to police. 

State police investigators are obtaining a search warrant for the house where Bartell was located and were conducting a search later Tuesday morning.  In addition to the gun Bartell was seen carrying, investigators said they believe there may be additional firearms in the home.

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