For Immediate Release 5/12/2017
South Baltimore— Quinton Heard received a Life sentence after prosecutors from the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City’s Major Investigations Unit (MIU) teamed up with colleagues from the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) to bring Heard’s case up at a violation of probation hearing. Heard was released from prison in 2013 on parole for a first degree murder in 1996 for which he received a life sentence.
On November 6, 2015 in the 1000 block E. McComas Street, Officer Jonathan Glazerman was traveling westbound in traffic when he heard several loud pops and looked around to find the source of the noises. Officer Glazerman saw two males standing on the elevated median to the left of Glazerman's marked police vehicle. The males were firing handguns into traffic ahead of the officer's patrol car, and appeared to be targeting an unidentified vehicle traveling ahead of the police car. Officer Renato Guarnaccia of the Maryland Transportation Authority police was traveling next to the Officer Glazerman's patrol car, and observed muzzle flash coming from one of the handguns as it was fired.
The two males saw the patrol cars, stopped shooting, and fled eastbound on foot—jumping from the median, crossing both lanes of traffic, and running up a hill on the north side of the road leading to property held by CSX Transportation Railroad. One officer exited his vehicle and chased the suspects on foot, but eventually lost sight of the shooters. Within seconds, the area was cordoned off to prevent the escape of the suspects. Both suspects were found ten minutes later while hiding on a heavily wooded hillside several hundred feet from where the officer had lost sight of them. The suspects were sweating profusely, and one complained of shortness of breath.
The suspects were identified as Andre Wise and Quinton Heard. No handguns were found in the area, although there is a sediment pond adjacent to the woods where Wise and Heard were found hiding.
Both defendants had their hands bagged for gunshot residue (GSR). Quinton Heard removed the GSR bags from his hands when placed in the back of a police wagon. However, Andre Wise's left hand tested positive for the presence of GSR. Additionally, Wise was wearing a GPS ankle monitor at the time of the incident. GPS pings from the ankle monitor placed Wise at the scene of the shooting at the time the shooting occurred.
Further, two other suspects were discovered by Officer Guarnaccia—who tried to head the suspects off with his vehicle while Officer Glazerman gave chase on foot. The suspects were sitting in a rental car in the area from where the shooters were seen running. A fully-loaded revolver, several ziplock bags of cocaine, and several cell phones were recovered from the vehicle. Forensic analysis of one of the phones revealed that the phone belonged to Quinton Heard.
The suspects in the car pled guilty to possession of the guns and drugs. Heard faced three trials on firearms and reckless endangerment charges—all of which resulted in hung juries.
“We know this guy is violent,” MIU Prosecutor Laura Sambataro said. “He had just been paroled from prison, backing up a life sentence for murder, and police find him firing indiscriminately into traffic just outside McHenry Row on a Friday afternoon two years after his release.”
CIU Chief Lauren Lipscomb says that the circumstances surrounding this case were eerily similar to his murder conviction in 1997. According to Lipscomb, Heard had an ongoing dispute with someone from his old neighborhood. When Heard ran into the man he had been feuding with, Heard grabbed a shotgun from his trunk and told the man to run.
“Heard chased the man through the neighborhood firing at him with the shotgun until he finally hit the victim in the back,” Lipscomb said. “There were kids outside at the time. And, investigators found buckshot rounds that had broken through windows in three separate—and occupied—homes and two parked car windows.”
After the third hung jury on Heard’s case for the 2015 incident, Sambataro—who was the lead prosecutor on the case— decided to team up with Lipscomb to pursue a probation violation before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Kendra Ausby.
“Imposition of a life sentence following a violation of probation proceeding is unusual and dependent on the circumstances,” Lipscomb said. “The life sentence imposed in this violent repeat offender case is an appropriate reflection of the gravity of the circumstances. Mr. Heard was on probation for first degree murder and violated his probation by discharging a handgun, opening fire along a busy street. It is fortunate that no one was injured.”
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby says the outcome was the result of an enterprising, aggressive, and collaborative effort.
“The presentation of Heard’s violent conduct during the violation hearing was a team effort of two very critical units within my office, which reflects our ongoing commitment to hold violent repeat offenders accountable,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney Mosby said. “I am pleased that Heard is off the streets permanently and can never put another life in danger.”