Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – 6th District Investigative Section have charged Peter Kevin Banfield, age 35, of the 1100 block of Southern Night Lane in Gaithersburg, with reckless endangerment and destruction of property for discharging a firearm which caused damage to a church on two occasions.
On the evening of Wednesday, November 15, a parishioner of the New Life Seventh Day Adventist Church located at 7401 Muncaster Mill Road called police after he was attending a service at the church and noticed a bullet hole in a window frame near the front entrance. Police responded and a bullet fragment was recovered from the frame. Church representatives told police they were unsure of when the shots were fired.
On Thursday, November 16 at approximately 11:13 p.m., 6th District officers responded to the area of the church for the report of sounds of multiple gunshots. First responders noticed that the church had sustained damage from apparent gunfire and officers recovered bullet fragments at the scene. Officers also located and recovered multiple shell casings on Muncaster Mill Road near the church.
On November 17, detectives released information to the media and public and asked for help in identifying a suspect. Investigators received a tip which led to the identification of Banfield as the suspect.
On November 29, detectives obtained a Montgomery County Search and Seizure warrant for Banfield’s residence. During the search, investigators recovered a handgun and ammunition in Banfield’s bedroom.
A forensics analysis was conducted on the shell casings recovered from the scene of the firearm discharges at the church and the handgun and ammunition recovered during the search warrant. The forensic analysis indicated that the handgun recovered during the search was the same weapon that was used during the firearm discharges at the church.
Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Banfield charging him with reckless endangerment, destruction of religious property, destruction of property over $1,000, and discharging a firearm in an urban area. On December 5, Banfield was arrested in Rockville on the strength of the arrest warrant. Bond information for Banfield is not yet available.