Police units gather outside the trail on Tuesday before the suspect has been apprehended. Credit: Anne Tallent

An hour-long manhunt ensued Tuesday afternoon after police received a report of an armed robbery and sexual assault on a wooded trail in the Burnt Mills area of Silver Spring, according to officials.

A suspect was arrested, police said.

Montgomery County Police responded to the Northwest Branch Trail in the 10700 block of Columbia Pike at approximately 2:54 p.m., according to a preliminary summary of events shared by the department. A preliminary investigation by police found a man had approached a woman on the trail and brandished a weapon. The man then sexually assaulted her, stole her property and fled the scene, police said.

In their efforts to apprehend the suspect, officers utilized a helicopter from Maryland State Police, canines from the county sheriff’s office and additional support from Maryland-National Capital Park Police.

A suspect was apprehended over an hour after the original call came in, according to information shared between officers over the police scanner. He was carrying a machete and had a “crown and rose tattoo” on the back of his hand, according to a suspect description shared by police over the scanner. Police have not confirmed those details.

The police search occurred in a suburban area of Silver Spring between Colesville Road and the capital beltway. As the manhunt continued, school buses dropped off students, police officers noted on the scanner.


The suspect was apprehended on Devere Drive near the Devere Loop Trailhead in Silver Spring, according to officers.

“This is not something that occurs. Not on a regular basis, not on a monthly basis, not even on a yearly basis. It’s very rare,” Maryland-National Capital Park Police Lieutenant Charles Smith said at a press briefing Tuesday.

Police said a formal news release with more details is expected to be released as additional information becomes available.