Shortly after 8 a.m. yesterday, Lamont Norman walked his girlfriend's daughter to a school bus stop in a small Delaware town just over the line from Maryland's Eastern Shore. He wore body armor, police later said, and he carried a 9mm handgun and three ammunition clips.
The armed man came upon two men -- Jamell Weston, 24, and his cousin, Marcus Cannon. Without warning, Cannon said, he reached for the gun.
"He stood there and just aimed at me and shot me," said Cannon, who was struck on the left forearm. "I just started running."
Weston, shot in the face, could not run. His was the first killing in a rampage that over 45 minutes would reach down into Maryland and leave two dead and four others wounded -- victims apparently chosen at random.
During the violent spasm, which shook the small towns in its path, the gunman stole a car and then hijacked an SUV and killed its driver, authorities said. He littered the streets of the Eastern Shore with bullets as he fired at passing vehicles, homes and dogs, they said.
Police said the shootings began at 8:10 a.m. at an apartment complex in Laurel, Del., and ended after the gunman, whom they identified as Allison Lamont Norman, abandoned the SUV in Salisbury, Md. There, residents pointed police to Norman, crouched behind a car in an apartment complex. He was taken into custody after a brief foot chase.
A law enforcement source said Norman, 22, of Seaford, Del., later told police that he simply wanted to shoot people. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, said detectives were working to decipher what might have set off the shootings.
Norman, who police believe acted alone, was charged with first-degree murder and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. He was being held without bond last night at the Wicomico County jail.
Attempts to reach Norman's family yesterday were unsuccessful. A message left at the office of Purcell Luke, a lawyer who represented Norman on unrelated firearms charges, was not returned.
At a hastily called community meeting yesterday evening, Laurel Police Chief Donald McGinty tried to calm a crowd of rattled residents. "He is not coming back," McGinty said. "Do not fear that he is coming back. He is in custody."
The crimes began at the Carvel Gardens apartment complex, where one resident said Norman frequently visited with a girlfriend. Resident Melissa Brown, who lives in an adjacent apartment complex, said Norman had planned the attack and had spoken of it openly.
"He told everybody a week before he was going on a killing spree," said Brown, 28. She said that Norman had been at the complex the night before and that he and others had taken the drug ecstasy.
Weston, the first victim, had just dropped off a nephew at the bus stop when he was killed.
Norman then stole a black Ford Focus and drove to a nearby shopping center, authorities said. According to the law enforcement source, Norman waved over a man in the parking lot at the shopping center and asked if he needed a ride. Norman then shot the man in the abdomen and leg, police said. That victim, whom police did not identify, was reported in stable condition at Peninsula Regional Medical Center.