This afternoon, just before 4pm, police received a call to respond to St. Stephens Woods Drive in Crownsville. The caller reported that her friend had texted her that she need the police.
When officers arrived, there was no response at the front door. Officers saw a woman sitting in a chair along with a male subject, later identified as James John Dean, sitting near the woman with a shotgun between his legs. The police ordered him to drop the gun and when officer made a move to enter the home, he turned the gun toward himself and fired a fatal round.
When police were able to force their way into the house, there was a heavy odor of gasoline and the fire department was called to investigate the fumes and to treat the woman and the man.
After an investigation, it appears that Dean drove to the home of his estranged wife and burglarized it and doused the interior with gasoline. He remained hidden in the house and when she returned and confronted her and threatened to burn the house down and kill them both.
The wife was able to convince her husband to allow her to use her cell phone when she sent the text message to her friend. Police credit the quick thinking of the victim and her friend along with the response of officers in thwarting a situation that could have been a lot worse.