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ATF traces guns at police-involved shooting

Posted at 5:28 PM, Apr 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 18:50:08-04

From new construction to renovating vacant homes, the neighborhood Greenmount West is in the middle of a rebirth on the city's east side.

Dwight Hargrave has been waiting on it since he bought his home on East Lanvale Street.

"Almost 30 years. This block has really become very hot in a positive way," he said. 

But Thursday, the sounds of renovation were muted by gunfire.

Baltimore Police on routine patrol came across a heavily armed father and son duo. Matthew Vincent, 43, and his 18-year-old son were shot 56 times and killed by police. 

The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Sergeant Joseph Wiczulis, an eight-year veteran of the agency assigned to Easter District operations and two-year veteran Officer Norman Jones also assigned to Eastern District operations. Both officers are on routine administrative leave.

Police say the suspects were intent on killing someone on that block if not for their chance patrol.

"You can just imagine. They are driving by this Volvo that just parked on the side of the road and out popped two armed gunman,” said Commissioner Kevin Davis, “One with a long gun and that is why we have it in front of you today. This is no joke."

The pink, camouflaged 22 caliber semi-automatic rifle may look like a joke, but the fully loaded, high-powered long gun was a sobering find. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms put an urgent trace on the weapon to find out how it ended up on Baltimore streets.

"It definitely piques our interest,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge William McMullan, “We still treat every gun recovery the same way but something like that definitely raises our level of concern a little bit more."

On East Lanvale Street, neighbors are relieved that only some windows and Hargrave's windshield are the only other things to get shot.

The bullet hole earned him a reprieve from a ticket thanks to a sign he left under his wiper he says, but many here far more grateful it wasn't worse.

"I am just glad that the police happened to be going through the neighborhood at that time and were able to keep something more tragic from happening," Hargrave said.

The ATF has already completed the trace of those guns. Who it came from and how it was purchased is now very much a part of this investigation.

Both suspects were either out on bail or on probation from previous handgun violations.