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Using bare hands and bamboo stick, 4 hold suspects until police arrive
By BEN WEATHERS, Staff Writer
By BEN WEATHERS, Staff Writer
Capital Gazette Communications
A family thwarted an armed robbery in its Pasadena garage last week, fighting off three men until police arrived, county police said.
At one point a family member used a bamboo stick to beat two of the men - including one who tried to fire a gun at her husband three times during the incident.
Police charged Paul Rashon Atterberry, 17, and Delonte Preston Thomas, 20, both of Laurel, with armed robbery, first-degree assault and numerous other offenses. Both were ordered held on $150,000 bond. Atterberry has been charged as an adult in the case.
Police are still searching for the third man.
About 8 p.m. Thursday, a homeowner and his 22-year-old nephew were trying to move a TV set inside the garage of their house on the 200 block of Mountain Road when two men walked in and demanded money, police said.
The family told officers that one of the men, later identified as Thomas, stood outside the garage doors as the two other men allegedly tried to rob them.
One of the robbery suspects in the garage, later identified by the family as Atterberry, allegedly grabbed the nephew from behind as the third man pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at the uncle and demanded money, police said.
The uncle told police that he yelled that he had no money and then emptied his pockets, including a set of keys onto the garage floor.
The gunman, whom the police said was hiding his face with his arm, grabbed the keys from the floor.
As the uncle continued saying he had no money, his sister came to door leading to the inside of the house. Thomas yelled "let's go" to Atterberry and the other man in the garage, witnesses told police.
At that point, police said Atterberry and the other gunman ran from the garage. The uncle, along with his nephew and sister, caught Atterberry on the front lawn and began to struggle with him, police said.
At that point, the man's wife came out of the house armed with a bamboo stick, police said.
Police said the unidentified man then pointed a gun at the uncle and threatened to shoot if the family didn't leave Atterberry alone. Pointing the gun, he pulled the trigger once, but the gun did not fire, police said.
As his wife approached the gunman with a bamboo stick, she saw him pull the trigger twice more, she told police. But the gun still did not discharge.
She hit both Atterberry and the gunman with the stick multiple times, ultimately breaking it.
The armed robbery suspect ran to a dark four-door car parked in front of the residence. As he climbed into the car, witnesses told police Thomas got out and yelled for the family to "leave my cousin alone."
A neighbor walking by saw the commotion and came to help the family subdue Atterberry until police arrived. Officers arrested both Atterberry and Thomas.
It is not clear how the gunman escaped, but police said he remains at large.
Thomas and Atterberry were taken to the police Eastern District Police Station, where a search revealed a small amount of suspected marijuana in Thomas' pants. He was charged with marijuana possession.
According to records, neither Atterberry nor Thomas have any prior criminal convictions. Thomas is employed at a local Walmart, while Atterberry is a student at Meade High School.
Thomas' mother, Latrice Covington, appeared at Friday's hearing and told Judge Thomas J. Pryal that the incident was out of character for her son.
"He's a very good person," a visibly distraught Covington said. "He's never been in trouble like this before."
But Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Matey said, "The defendant and two other people assaulted and attempted to rob three people in the garage of their own home."
The judge reduced the $750,000 bail set at the time of the men's arrest to $150,000.