Solomons Tiki Bar owner charged in shooting incident

Grand jurors note ’87 conviction on cocaine count

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gunfire that brought law officers to a St. Mary’s home last winter led to assault and weapons charges against a resident, and now a 41-count indictment by grand jurors noting his 1987 imprisonment on a cocaine charge.

Terry Anthony Clarke, identified by authorities as an owner of the Tiki Bar in Solomons, was released on $25,000 bond within hours after the Dec. 29 incident at a pond outside his house on St. Andrew’s Church Road in California.

A warrant was issued Thursday with the new indictment.

The indictment’s 34 weapons charges follow its counts accusing Clarke of committing a first-degree assault that winter morning on Cody Philip Burch of Hughesville, Nicholas Ryan Hancock of Charlotte Hall and Kevin Michael Gragan of Bel Alton.

The three men told police that they had been hunting near the pond on the side near Johnson Pond Lane, and that when they went in the water to retrieve some birds, Clarke began shooting a rifle at them from the other shore, St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputy Shawn Moses alleged in original charging papers.

About 25 rounds were fired, landing 40 yards away from the trio as they quickly left the pond, charging papers state, and no injuries were reported.

Clarke told law officers arriving at his home that he had fired several rounds in the ground to ‘‘scare the ducks,” charging papers state, and the police officers seized a Bushmaster rifle from the residence.

The indictment alleges that Clarke, 44, illegally possessed the rifle – along with an Israel Military Industries model UZI B 9mm rifle, a .44-caliber Desert Eagle handgun, an IMBEL .45-caliber handgun, a Kel-tec CNC Industries sub-2000 9mm rifle and four shotguns – after being convicted of a felony narcotics trafficking offense.

The indictment also accuses Clarke of unlawfully receiving ammunition clips, participating in illegal weapons transactions, and participating in a ‘‘straw purchase” of four of the weapons, a term commonly referring to a gun sale to a third person on behalf of someone who cannot legally own a firearm.

A broader investigation continues, authorities said this week, of all participants in the handling of the weapons, in a case that ultimately may garner some assistance from federal law officers.

Clarke pleaded guilty in early 1987 to a charge in an indictment filed the preceding year for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. Two handgun charges in the indictment were dismissed.

A judge sentenced Clarke to five years in prison on the felony drug charge, suspended to three years with a recommendation that they be served at a prerelease unit. The judge granted a reconsideration of the sentence seven months later.