UPDATE (5:45 p.m.)—Tales of a thwarted mass shooting plot with an Anne Arundel County connection spread quickly on Friday through news sources and social media.
While local police remained tight-lipped about the incident until a Friday afternoon news conference in Prince George's County, some details—including the man's name and a faxed copy of a search warrant—were leaked.
At the news conference Friday, police did not name or confirm the identity of the male suspect taken into custody for medical treatment at his Crofton apartment located in the 1600 block of Parkridge Circle.
Prince George's County Police Department (PGPD) spokeswoman Julie Parker tweeted on Friday: "As no one is currently under arrest in the shooting threat averted case, we have not released an ID or photo. We will do so if/when approp."
By Saturday morning, however, Neil Prescott's name was used in an update posted on the PGPD News Blog. Later on Saturday, the name was removed and replaced with "the subject." Prescott's name was also released in a tweet Saturday morning by the official Twitter feed of the Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office.
A search of an online court database revealed that 28-year-old Prescott has no criminal record in the state, but was stopped for speeding in a Volkswagen on Crofton Parkway at Dryden Way in 2007 by the Crofton Police Department. His plea was not guilty and he received probation before judgment, according to the online court record. He was also described in that record as 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 270 pounds.
Crofton resident Nancy Lewis lives near the and said that she called friends who rent there when she heard about the incident.
"We are all shocked that this happened here in Crofton," Lewis said. "But they did not know him, even though it sounds like he is a pretty big guy who should have stood out in a crowd."
Others in the area expressed concern on Crofton Patch's Facebook page that Prescott lived so close to , which is located on Duke of Kent Drive—where TV crews were spotted Friday night. Some locals wondered if the incident was sensationalized, while others reserved judgment until questions are answered about Prescott's mental state.
An update on the PGPD News Blog stated that Prescott was admitted to in Annapolis after a "doctor evaluation" and that he could be there for one week.
Prescott was not arrested and has not been charged. According to the PGPD News Blog, "state and possibly federal charges are under review."
The Washington Post reported that any charges against Prescott will not be filed until he is released from the hospital and that the ATF is evaluating the legality of the weapons. The search warrant indicated that at least 13 guns appeared to be legally registered.
A team that included Prince George’s County detectives; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) special agents; and members of the Anne Arundel County Special Operations Division executed the search warrant about 3:20 a.m. Friday. Police said the ATF from the home and released a photo of the weapons.
"I believe [the cooperative effort] thwarted some serious violence that could have happened," said Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare Sr.