Gunman responsible for summer standoff sentenced

A North Beach man who held law enforcement at bay for several hours during an incident on June 27 at his Sea Breeze Court residence was sentenced to 18 months in the Calvert County Detention Center.

Circuit Court Judge Mark Chandlee also imposed five years of supervised probation on the defendant, Joseph James Schmidt, 26 and ordered him to seek drug, alcohol and mental health treatment.

The six-hour standoff in the Burnt Oaks neighborhood ended peacefully when Schmidt surrendered to police. Residents of the neighborhood were evacuated during the afternoon siege.

In court documents, Tfc. Kelsey Stull of the Maryland State Police Prince Frederick barrack stated she and two Calvert County deputies were advised to respond to Schmidt’s residence at around noon to “check the welfare of a possible suicidal subject, called in by the local recovery center. The caller told authorities that Schmidt sent them a photograph of a Navy uniform and a handgun beside it. A statement accompanying the photo read, “I do not want to do this anymore.” The caller explained to authorities that during the previous month, Schmidt had been discharged from the Navy “and was a recovering alcoholic who recently relapsed,” Stull stated.

According to the trooper’s court statement, at approximately 12:23 p.m., she made an announcement on the public address of her patrol vehicle, telling Schmidt to exit the residence. No response was received. Nearly an hour later, Stull saw Schmidt “approach the far right window on the third floor. I observed Schmidt holding a black rifle in that direction and then disappeared behind the curtains.”

Three similar incidents occurred over the next two hours, with Schmidt appearing to take aim at the officers outside the residence. At around 2:22 p.m., more special operations officers and equipment had arrived at the site of the barricade.

At approximately 5:50 p.m., according to Stull’s statement of probable cause, “Schmidt was able to open a window on the third floor of the residence and at 1753 hours [5:53 p.m.] a single shot was fired, unknown where the round went. At approximately 1757 hours, Schmidt cleared the rifle and dropped it out the window.” Schmidt was apprehended without further incident as he voluntarily exited the residence and was placed into custody. He was taken by ambulance to Calvert Health Medical Center due to injuries to his face “and the level of alcohol and prescription drug impairment.” On Nov. 5, Schmidt pleaded guilty in circuit court to one count of first-degree assault.

John M. McKenna, Schmidt’s attorney, told the court his client works for Pepco and is currently enrolled in an alcohol treatment program. “This is not me,” said Schmidt of the June incident.

“I am encouraged that you are taking things seriously,” Chandlee told Schmidt. According to court records, other sanctions imposed on the defendant include total abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Schmidt must also receive permission from the court before taking ownership of a dangerous weapon.

“No weapons whatsoever,” Chandlee told Schmidt, indicating the ban includes firearms and knives.

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