Police say suspect opened fire on crowd in Eldersburg

Arrest made in double shooting

ELDERSBURG, Md. - Open mic night at Cheers Lounge turned deadly when a man stepped outside, pulled a gun from his pocket and opened fire on the crowd.

"They all said they heard several shots kind of fast in a row," said lounge owner Tony Trombetta, "There was no fighting outside.  There was no argument between the two.  He just shot the person."

36-year old David Garrett of Sykesville died from his wounds and a second victim, Gary Hale of Woodstock, caught a bullet in his arm.  

Paramedics medavaced him to the Shock Trauma Center where he's expected to survive.

Cheers Lounge sits atop the Harvest Inn Family Restaurant and Trombetta says it has long been a watering hole attracting primarily locals in the area.

"We might of had, that I could count on my hand, in twenty years, five little scuffles."

Witnesses say while no words were exchanged, the alleged gunman, 24-year old Jacob Bircher of Westminster, had been acting strangely prior to the shooting.

"He was around the pool table and he was just watching them play pool and he seemed a little weird, a little different and little strange or something, but he didn't cause any problems."

Since Bircher was new to the bar, workers had held onto his credit card so that he could run a tab, and that's what Maryland State Police used to track him down hours later.

 "In the early morning hours, a phone number was identified," said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police, "Our troopers were able to talk with the suspect on the phone.  He was convinced to give himself up.  He surrendered to Maryland State Police in a church parking lot in Westminster shortly after 7 this morning."
Garrett had recently returned to Carroll County after spending time in Seattle, and investigators are said to be looking into the possibility he may have encountered the alleged shooter earlier in Washington State.

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