Two officers hit by vehicle involved in shooting

Two officers hit by vehicle involved...

OCEAN CITY, Md. - Two officers were struck by a driver trying to run them over to avoid arrest Saturday night, and Maryland State Police are investigating.

One law enforcement officer struck is a supervisor with the Worcester County Sheriff's Office and is assigned to the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team task force.  The other is a police officer with the Ocean City Police Department.  Both officers struck by the vehicle were transported to an area hospital where they were treated and released.

The driver have been identified as 18-year-old Seaford resident Antonio Ambrosino.  He is charged with two counts each of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, attempted manslaughter, first degree assault and second degree assault, as well as one count each of reckless endangerment, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.  

The passenger, 20-year-old Arkad Espinal, of Shillington, Pa. is also under arrest.  He is charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

The incident began just after 11 p.m. Saturday night when the deputy sheriff working an assignment in Ocean City pulled into the back of a shopping center lot between 33rd and 34th streets on the ocean side of Coastal Highway.  The deputy saw a Chevrolet Malibu parked in the lot with two men inside. 

The deputy and an Ocean City officer approached the car on opposite sides, while two officers positioned themselves near the rear of the vehicle.  As the deputy walked up, he saw the two men in the car weighing and bagging marijuana. 

When the suspects noticed police inching closer they attempted to hide the marijuana.  When they were given commands by police, the driver started the car and put it into reverse.

The driver quickly accelerated and turned the vehicle to the right, striking the deputy.  Ambrosino then put the car into drive and accelerated forward.  He then steered to the left and drove directly at an Ocean City officer, striking him.  The force of the impact catapulted the officer over the hood, windshield, and onto the roof of the car.  The driver drove away, throwing the officer onto the hood of a vehicle parked nearby.  

The Ocean City police officer that was struck fired at the driver after being hit and another Ocean City police officer fired at the driver as he was striking the officer.  Neither suspect was struck by the rounds fired by officers.  

After fleeing the parking lot, the suspect vehicle ended up at a dead end on 41st Street on the bay side.  Police took Espinal into custody at the car.  Ambrosino jumped into the bay, but was later arrested about eight blocks north of that location.

Investigators have learned that during the incident, Ambrosino stated he would rather die than go to jail.  The car driven by Ambrosino was impounded by State Police investigators.  A search warrant is being obtained for the car.

The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit is conducting the investigation into the police-involved shooting, at the request of the Worcester County Sheriff's Office and the Ocean City Police Department.  Investigators have been in contact with the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office overnight and will ultimately present their completed investigation to that office for review.  

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