Clarksburg Man Arrested in Virginia on Homicide Charges; Tied to Two Incidents in Montgomery County

Muhammad Taha

The Montgomery County Department of Police – 5th and 6th District Investigative Sections, have charged Muhammad Taha, age 29, of the 23300 block of Observation Drive in Clarksburg, with crimes related to two incidents occurring in Germantown and Gaithersburg.  The same individual was arrested in Prince William County, Virginia, and charged with 2nd Degree Murder, Felony Hit & Run, and other charges for events that occurred on March 24, 2019, in the Manassas area.

On March 22, 2019, officers from the 6th District responded to the Islamic Center of Maryland Mosque located at 19411 Woodfield Road in Gaithersburg, for the report of an injured person.  Investigation revealed that the victim was walking on the property when he was struck by a vehicle which then fled the area.  The victim was taken to a local hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.  Surveillance footage was able to capture parts of the incident.  A description of the vehicle and evidence was recovered on the scene.

On March 24, 2019, officers from the 5th District responded to the Islamic Society of Germantown located at 19825 Blunt Road in Germantown, for the report of a suspicious situation.  Investigation revealed a vehicle had been seen circling the parking lot before the driver exited the vehicle and used a brick to vandalize a parked vehicle in the lot.  The driver then drove away from the scene after striking an additional parked car.

Later in the day on March 24, 2019, the same suspect struck and killed a woman with his vehicle in the area of the 9600 block of Cloverhill Road, in Manassas, Virginia.  Prince William County Police, based off of a lookout placed by the Manassas City Police, were able to find the vehicle and suspect matching the description of the homicide nearby.  Muhammad Taha was arrested and charged with 2nd Degree Murder, Felony Hit & Run and other charges related to the incident.

Detectives from the 5th and 6th District Investigative Sections have now connected all the events to Muhammed Taha.  Taha has been charged with following offenses:

CR 2-206  Attempted 2nd Degree Murder

CR 3-202 1st Degree Assault

CR 6-301  Malicious Destruction of Property (2 counts)

Representatives of all six police districts have been in communication with the Mosques within Montgomery County since the initial event occurred.

Detectives believe these are isolated events related directly to Taha who remains in the Prince William County Adult Detention Center on a no bond status.

The Montgomery County Department of Police wish to thank the Manassas City Police Department and the Prince William County Police for their assistance with this case.

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CTJ

Police Officer Suffers Medical Emergency in Wheaton

Today, officers from Montgomery County Department of Police – 4th District responded to the Westfield Wheaton Mall for the report of a theft in progress.

While on the scene investigating the incident, one of the responding officers suffered a medical emergency and collapsed.  Other officers on the scene immediately began administering first-aid to the downed officer.

Personnel from the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Services responded to the scene and provided care and transported the officer to the Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.  The officer remains in critical but stable condition.

Acting Chief Russell Hamill commended the efforts of the officers on the scene to come to the aid of another officer in distress.  Additionally, he thanked the MCFRS personnel who came to the aid of the officer and provided exemplary service to a fellow public safety professional.  Hamill went on to thank the community for the outpouring of support witnessed during this time of concern.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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CTJ

Montgomery County Department of Police Announce Leadership Changes

The Montgomery County Department of Police is pleased to announce that Assistant Chief Russell E. Hamill, III, will become Acting Chief of Police for Montgomery County beginning March 31, 2019.  Chief Hamill will serve as the Acting Chief of Police whilst a nationwide search to replace retiring Chief J. Thomas Manger is completed.  Chief Hamill previously served as the Assistant Chief of the Management Services Bureau and the Investigative Services Bureau.

Additionally, the department is announcing that Commander Dinesh Patil will serve as the Acting Assistant Chief of Police in charge of the Management Services Bureau beginning March 31, 2019.  Commander Patil previously served as the Commander of the 6th District in Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village.

Biographical Information

Assistant Chief Russell E. Hamill, III

Assistant Chief Russell E. Hamill, III, has been a member of the Montgomery County Police Department since 1986.  He served for nearly three years as a Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff before joining the department.  After graduating from the Public Safety Training Academy, he was assigned to the 1st District as a patrol officer where he was also assigned to the Lincoln Park Community Policing Team (the department’s first effort at community policing), and then the Special Assignment Team.  He was then assigned to the Special Investigations Division as a detective in the Drug Investigations Unit.

In November of 1994, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant where his assignments included serving as a Sergeant in the Drug Enforcement Section of the Special Investigations Division, supervisor of the Police Community Action Team (PCAT), in the 5th and 2nd Districts as a shift Sergeant, at the Public Safety Training Academy as the Training Development/Critical Skills Supervisor, and as an Administrative Sergeant for the Investigative Services Bureau and Chiefs Office. 

In November of 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and assigned as the Deputy Commander of the 1st District.  Subsequently, he was assigned as the Deputy Director of the Special Investigations Division, Drug Enforcement Section.   

In November of 2004, he was promoted to the rank of Captain and appointed as the Director of the Criminal Investigations Division.  In 2006 he successfully completed the Maryland Leadership Challenge program and graduated from the FBI National Academy, Session 227.  In August of 2007, he assumed command of the 2nd District.

On September 2, 2011, then Commander Hamill was nominated by then County Executive Isiah Leggett for an appointment to the rank of Assistant Chief of Police and the appointment was approved by the County Council shortly thereafter.  Acting Chief Hamill served as the Chief of Detectives until October of 2017 and as Chief of the Management Services Bureau since that time.  He also completed the Major Cities Chiefs Association Police Executive Leadership Institute program and the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police during that time.

Now Acting Chief of Police Hamill is a life-long resident of Montgomery County.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University.  He is married and has five children.

Commander Dinesh Patil

Commander Dinesh Patil was born and raised in Montgomery County and started his connection with the Montgomery County Police as a police explorer in 1988.  Commander Patil was hired by MCPD in 1994 and served in the Silver Spring District from 1994-2004 as a patrol officer, mountain bike officer, Special Assignment Team officer and Corporal.  Commander Patil transferred to the Wheaton / Glenmont District upon his promotion to Sergeant in 2004 but returned to the Silver Spring Special Assignment Team in 2005 where he remained until his promotion to Lieutenant in 2008.

As a Lieutenant, Commander Patil has served in the Management Services Bureau, Special Investigations Division and the Emergency Response Team Command Staff.  He was promoted to Captain in 2012 and in that role has served as the Duty Commander, Director of the Personnel Division, Director of the Special Investigations Division and most recently as the Commander of the Sixth District.  Commander Patil also serves as the Project Director for the National Capital Area Law Enforcement Information Exchange (NCR-LInX), and serves as Vice Chairman for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Police Chief’s Technology Committee.Commander Patil holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Master’s of Science in Homeland Security Management from the University of Maryland.  Commander Patil graduated from the FBI National Academy Session 271 in 2018. 

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CTJ

Suspect Arrested for Carjacking in North Potomac

Update: March 7, 2019 (8:33 am):  The suspect is identified as Awa Rahman, age 19, of Central Park Circle in Alexandria, Virginia.  Rahman was released from the hospital on the evening of March 6 and was transported to the Central Processing Unit.  She has been charged with armed carjacking and making a false statement to a peace officer.

Rahman’s photograph has been added to this release.

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Detectives from the Major Crimes Division have arrested a 19-year-old female from Alexandria, Virginia, with a carjacking that occurred in North Potomac just after midnight.

At approximately 12:03 a.m. on March 6, the Emergency Communications Center (911) received a call from a person who reported that he had just been carjacked at the intersection of Amberlea Farm Drive and Dufief Mill Road.

Officers met with the victim, who stated that he was driving to work and as he approached the intersection, he observed a vehicle stopped in the roadway with its driver’s door partially open.  A female exited the driver’s side of that vehicle and began to walk to the victim’s vehicle.  The female waved to get the victim’s attention and the victim lowered his vehicle window. The female stated that she needed a ride.  She then got in the victim’s passenger seat and demanded to be driven to Washington, D.C.  The female suspect then put an object, which the victim believed was a gun, to the victim’s head and ordered him to exit his vehicle.  The suspect then drove off in the victim’s Subaru Outback.

At approximately 12:15 a.m., an on-duty Montgomery County police officer, in his marked cruiser, located the Subaru Outback traveling east on Darnestown Road and Muddy Branch Road and attempted to stop the vehicle using his vehicle lights and siren.  The vehicle did not stop and officers pursued the vehicle.  The vehicle crashed into trees on Clara Barton Parkway in the area of Lock #7 in Montgomery County.

Fire & Rescue personnel transported the suspect to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries that she sustained in the collision.  She has been arrested for armed carjacking and at this time, remains in the hospital in the custody of the Police Department.

Officers located the suspect’s Ford Fusion in the roadway at the intersection of Amberlea Farm Drive and Dufief Mill Road.

The suspect’s name and her photograph will be released once she has been brought before a Court commissioner.

rli/ME

Awa Rahman

Detectives Investigate Single-Vehicle Fatal Collision in Rockville

Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – Collision Reconstruction Unit are investigating a single-vehicle fatal collision that occurred this morning in Rockville.

On Saturday, March 2nd, at approximately 04:16 a.m., officers from the 1st District as well as MCFRS personnel responded to Great Seneca Highway and Darnestown Road for a single-vehicle collision.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that a 2013 Ford F-150,was traveling southbound on Great Seneca Highway when, for reasons still under investigation, it left the roadway at the intersection with Darnestown Road and became airborne before striking a tree.

The driver of the vehicle, Matthew Dirienzo Klopfer, age 27, of Germantown,  was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The collision remains under investigation.  Anyone with information regarding this collision is asked to contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620.

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CTJ