The Gaithersburg teenager charged with second-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting at the Wheaton Metro Station May 18 was ordered held without bond Thursday afternoon.
Emmanuel Leonard Simmonds, 16, is accused of shooting and killing Tenneson Vaughn Leslie, Jr., of Greenbelt, on the Metro train platform following an altercation, according to Montgomery County Police.
Simmonds and other juvenile males were on the escalator, as was the deceased and a group of his friends, when a physical altercation arose, according to police. The fight escalated, and Simmonds is believed to have shot Leslie, Jr. before boarding a train and leaving the scene, police said.
Simmonds, who is being represented by a Montgomery County public defender, will be held in an adult facility.
His preliminary hearing is set for June 2 at 9:30 a.m. However, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said that the case likely will be presented to a grand jury on June 1, and the preliminary hearing may not be held.
Simmonds could be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years if found guilty of second-degree murder and 30 years if guilty of first-degree assault.
Under Maryland law, any juvenile charged with second-degree murder must be charged as an adult. If the charges are reduced, he could be tried in juvenile court.
McCarthy said the incident was particularly upsetting because of the young age of those involved and the fact that it happened during rush hour.
Montgomery County District Court Judge Holly Reed III, said it was necessary to hold Simmonds without bond, because the defendant is considered dangerous and also because there are possible codefendants in the area.
In a news conference after Simmonds’ arraignment, McCarthy spoke about an uptick in crime by young people. “It’s not a secret that we are seizing handguns at a record level in this community. There is no question about that.”
It could become even worse, McCarthy said, under a just-passed law in Maryland that stops police from searching a vehicle when they smell marijuana. Starting July 1, law enforcement officers will not be allowed to use “the smell test” as the only reason to stop and search a vehicle.
“That bill will result in more guns on the street. We are moving in the wrong direction,” he said.
Also arrested in connection with the shooting was a 14-year-old male, who is charged with accessory after the fact for his role in Leslie Jr.’s death. He is being charged as a juvenile.