BALTIMORE — “We have a problem that is not going to go away. Every year it gets worse.”
Those were the words of Congressman Kweisi Mfume just days before Thursday’s deadly shooting in Western Maryland that left three people dead, and a Maryland State Trooper injured.
The workplace shooting at Columbia Machine Inc left 50-year-old Mark Allan Frey 31-year old Charles Edward Minnck, and 30-year old Joshua Robert Wallace dead.
Police say the suspect was a 23 year old from West Virginia who like the victims was an employee of Columbia Machine Inc. who fled the scene and got into a shoot out with Maryland State Police where he and a trooper were treated and taken to the hospital.
“We’d like to extend our sadness and grief for the families involved in this incident,” officers said on scene Thursday.
“It’s not enough to say our hearts and prayers go out to families. It’s up to us to do something about ending the carnage on our streets and all of these soft targets that exist around country,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume.
He says instances like this, Uvalde, TX just two weeks ago, and in Buffalo 4 weeks ago are even more of a reason for congress to crack down on gun regulation nation-wide.
“In order to do that I think we have to work day in and day out. If it’s not a priority, it’s not going to happen,” said Mfume.
He sponsored the Protecting Our Kids Act. Though it just passed in the house--it'll be an uphill battle passing in the senate.
“It gives it a longer amount of time, a waiting period for clearance. We like to call it the Charleston loophole because it just means law enforcement has a longer extended time to do a background check,” said the Congressman.
The bill also bans bump stocks which increase firing capacity of an automatic weapon by 15 to 20 extra bullets.
The AFT enacted a rule in 2019 that banned bump stocks.
Meanwhile families across Texas, New York, and now Smithsburg, Maryland grapple with the reality that their loved ones aren't coming back.
But, Mfume says the reality fresh on his mind is the number of additional families who'll be left mourning if the country doesn't enact stricter gun laws.
“When you hear about Smithsburg unfortunately you believe in your heart of hearts that that’s not the end it’s just a matter of days or weeks before we hear about something as ugly and as horrific as this,” he said.
Though the suspect is in custody he hasn’t been identified and won't be until he is officially charged according to authorities.
Police executed a search warrant at the suspect's West Virginia residence, where they found additional fire arms.
At last check, the injured trooper has been released from the hospital.