A Nov. 3 article about a deputy U.S. marshal who fatally shot a man after a traffic dispute in the parking lot of a Rockville Pike shopping center incorrectly quoted a witness as saying that the deputy was standing near the right front fender of the other man's car before firing the fatal shot. The witness said the deputy was standing near the car's left front fender, on the driver's side. (Published 11/4/04)
A deputy U.S. marshal who shot and killed a Navy seaman after a traffic dispute in Montgomery County last week was charged yesterday with first-degree murder, authorities said.
Arthur L. Lloyd, 53, of Silver Spring also was charged with reckless endangerment and using a handgun during a violent crime in the shooting of 20-year-old Ryan T. Stowers. Lloyd, a member of the U.S. Marshals Service for 28 years, was arrested by Montgomery police yesterday and was being held without bond at the county jail.
Lloyd was off duty when the incident occurred shortly before 8:30 p.m. Thursday. He was driving a sport-utility vehicle, and Stowers was driving a Chevrolet Camaro when they pulled off Rockville Pike and into the parking lot of Mid-Pike Plaza, according to police and witnesses. They said the two got out of their vehicles, then had an argument and a fistfight.
Lloyd suffered a broken thumb and other injuries in the fight, and Stowers was hit in the ankle by a bullet from Lloyd's service weapon, according to two law enforcement sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is open. It is unclear whether that initial shot was fired intentionally or accidentally.
The sources said three more shots were fired after Stowers got back in his red Camaro and dialed 911 on his cell phone. The fatal shot went through the open driver's side window, striking Stowers in the shoulder blade. They said another shot shattered Stowers's rear windshield but did not hit him. The final shot hit one of the car's taillights.
In deciding whether to file charges, authorities said, they focused on whether Lloyd had a legitimate reason to open fire -- whether he feared for his life or for the lives of bystanders.
"I want you to know that investigators have interviewed over 40 witnesses, reviewed and evaluated extensive physical and forensic evidence, and have consulted with members of the state's attorney's office throughout this investigation," Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said yesterday. Based on that, he said, authorities "believe it is now appropriate to bring charges in this case."
Don Hines, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, said yesterday that Lloyd was suspended without pay after the arrest. Lloyd's attorney, David Sanford, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Stowers joined the Navy in March. Kelly Servis, 18, a friend who lives in Stowers's home town of Redding, Calif., expressed relief that Lloyd had been charged. "It pretty much doesn't matter what the incident was over," she said yesterday. "It shouldn't have escalated to a gunshot." She said Stowers's family is "really happy" about the arrest.
The shooting occurred on a four-lane road in the Mid-Pike Plaza lot. The roadway runs perpendicular to the shopping center and rises on a slow incline toward Rockville Pike. Stowers was alone in his car. Lloyd was with his wife and several children, authorities said.
Felipe Andrade, 19, of Gaithersburg, who witnessed the shooting and was interviewed by police, said the Camaro stopped behind the SUV in the lot. He said it appeared that the two vehicles had been involved in a fender bender.
After the two men fought and Stowers got back in his Camaro, Andrade said, he saw Lloyd holding what appeared to be a black semiautomatic and a badge. He said Lloyd was standing close to the car's right front fender. The Camaro's engine was running, and the driver's window was down, Andrade said.
He said he heard Lloyd yell, "Get out of the car, or I'm going to shoot you!" and "You just hit a federal officer. Watch what's going to happen to you in the morning if you leave."
Andrade said Stowers was yelling, "I need a picture ID! Show me a picture ID!"
"He sounded scared," Andrade said. He said the Camaro backed up, then moved forward and around the left side of the SUV, as if to leave. He said the car did not drive at Lloyd. "He drove away in a normal fashion," Andrade said.
He said he then heard three shots.