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'Interest' in Md. suspect in duck's death

Dan Morse

The Montgomery County man suspected of slashing the tires of his Hispanic neighbors’ cars also is under suspicion for stealing a duck from one of their backyards and cutting its head off, according to police arrest records filed in court Thursday.

Detectives call Steven Ray Armstrong a "person of interest" in the duck incident, according to a police spokeswoman. A witness told police that Armstrong, 52, was seen near the duck owner’s house at the time the pet went missing from its cage, according to the arrest documents.

The duck was found decapitated three days later on a nearby street in the victim's, and suspect’s, Wheaton-area neighborhood.

Armstrong was charged this week in one tire slashing case. Detectives say he is motivated by a dislike toward Latinos and could be responsible for slashing the tires of at least 20 vehicles owned by Hispanics.

Armstrong was released from the Montgomery County jail Thursday on a $3,500 bond. It isn’t clear if he has retained an attorney. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

The arrest documents lay out detectives’ tire-slashing case against Armstrong.

It began on July 15, when a man along Amherst Avenue reported that his vehicle's tires had been slashed 20 times over the last four years. Officers also spoke with his Latino neighbor, who said that in August his Honda Civic’s alarm erupted, prompting him and his roommates to go outside. They saw Armstrong crouching next to the Honda and slashing tires, according to arrest records.

"What are you doing to my car?" one of the residents asked him, according to the police account.

"I hate you Spanish people! I hate you all! You have to remember, you will all pay!" he responded, according to police allegations.

Officers then went to Armstrong's residence, where he confessed to puncturing the Honda's tires with a transmission pick he'd gotten from the mechanic shop where he works, police said. Inside Armstrong's home, officers found the pick, two ski masks, gloves, a leather hole punch device and a knife with brass knuckles, police said. When talking to officers, Armstrong referred to his Latino neighbors as "those people," according to arrest records.

It was during the tire slashing case that officers learned about the duck.

A resident of Bucknell Drive said that at 1 a.m., two months ago, he heard his roommate's pet duck screaming from a cage in the backyard. As the duck's owner would later tell police, he went out to investigate, saw an individual running towards Armstrong's house, and went to look into the cage. No duck.

A witness would later tell police he saw Armstrong driving his vehicle slowly by the duck-owner's house around the time the animal went missing, according to police accounts.

Three days later, the duck was found without its head.

Like many parts of Southeastern Montgomery County, Wheaton has played host to an influx of Hispanic newcomers in the recent years.

-- Dan Morse


By Dan Morse  | October 8, 2010; 7:31 AM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse, Montgomery, Updates  
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Comments

Seriously disturbed.

Posted by: akchild | October 8, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like a Quack.

Posted by: wjc1va | October 8, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

That's just fowl. I was unaware you could keep ducks as pets in MoCo.

Posted by: Redial1 | October 8, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Misdemeanor ab-duck-tion

Posted by: PepperDr | October 8, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

What a nutjob. Would you go to San Salvador and wage an all-out war against Salvadorans?

Wheaton is rapidly becoming a latino enclave (ghetto, really). This is pretty much inevitable. If you don't speak Spanish or like latinos, it's simple: don't live in Wheaton, of all places. He's just lucky the local MS-13 "clics" didn't target him.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | October 8, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

There crimes are reprehensible. However, there should NOT be any hate crime laws.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | October 8, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

What a clown...prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. This guy is quackers...

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | October 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Why a duck?

Posted by: Raiche58 | October 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

He needs to come on over to Virginia with that pick in his hand.....I'll take care of him with pleasure.

Posted by: OldSalt8 | October 8, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Daffy.

Posted by: hitpoints | October 8, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Someone's got a thing about wetbacks.

Posted by: krickey7 | October 8, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

What the Duck????

Posted by: tsamm | October 8, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

YOU LIBRALS BRING THIS ON US!!!!KICK THEM BACK OUT TO WHERE THEY COME FROM AND WE WONT SEE ANY OF THIS AGAIN. THE DRAFT-DODGER-IN-CHEIF LET THEM IN AND THIS IS WHAT WE GET. THE TEA PARTY WILL SEE ALL OF YOU TO THE DOOR!!!!

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | October 8, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

RogerRamjet2, I smell hypocrisy.

Your beloved conservative business interests love cheap, underpaid, desperate Third-world labor, so I don't know what the hell you're screaming about.

I lived in a crappy neighborhood full of filth, overcrowding, and drunken day-laborers. Sure enough, that was in part due to both illegal and legal mass immigration.

Instead of joining the stinking Tea Party, I simply got out. There's no sense going crazy and starting a race riot.

Nobody drove this fool to commit vandalism and mutilate a poor animal. He chose his pathetic one-man whitey's-last-stand approach himself. And he didn't prove a damn thing, except that he's a hate-filled lunatic.

Now how about working on your anger management? It would do you and your screaming buddies some good.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | October 8, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

YOU LIBRALS BRING THIS ON US!!!!KICK THEM BACK OUT TO WHERE THEY COME FROM AND WE WONT SEE ANY OF THIS AGAIN. THE DRAFT-DODGER-IN-CHEIF LET THEM IN AND THIS IS WHAT WE GET. THE TEA PARTY WILL SEE ALL OF YOU TO THE DOOR!!!!

Posted by: RogerRamjet2
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Interesting that your refer to Obama as a draft dodger. He was only 14 the year the US pulled out of Vietnam in 1975. I guess facts are irrelevant, it's the narrative that counts? There were no drafts for any subsequent conflicts the US was involved in.

Posted by: jab00 | October 8, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

It would be funny if this guy is one of the resident board commenters, like, wewinyoulose or checkered1..ha ha

Posted by: case50 | October 8, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Why is this a hate crime...did he hate the duck?

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | October 8, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Why is this a hate crime...did he hate ducks?

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | October 8, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Slashing tires? That's one way of taking care of illegals that are - driving w/o lic. and insurance!! maybe we could find a way of getting them out of the worksites -
Take control - forget about being PCorrect!!!

Posted by: sendthemback | October 8, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Slashing tires? That's one way of taking care of illegals that are - driving w/o lic. and insurance!! maybe we could find a way of getting them out of the worksites -
Take control - forget about being PCorrect!!!

Posted by: sendthemback | October 8, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

In many ways this story doesn't surprise me.

Racial/ethnic tensions can run fairly high in these neighborhoods.

I witnessed it among others and felt it myself:

I would ask people (in English and Spanish) to turn down their music and they would start screaming that I was a racist because I "only asked the latinos" and then told me sneeringly to move to Potomac (nice insult, btw).

That was B.S. I only asked the people who played their music at ear-bleedingly loud levels. Incidentally the breakdown was: many latinos, some Caribbean blacks, a very few south Asians. There was one old white guy who played loud bluegrass but it was far enough away that it didn't bother us. But honestly, most of the white people had left by 2006 or so.

However, living in that chaotic cesspit convinced me that mass third-world immigration is screwing over the lower and lower-middle classes, unless maybe you aspire to be yet another slumlord or under-the-table "small business owner" and exploit the next wave of poor, desperate "migrants" willing to live packed like sardines in a "single-family" house.

Sometimes white flight is better for everybody. I sure didn't believe that 10 - 15 years ago but then I hadn't live in a place like Wheaton before.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | October 8, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Roger, you could stand to calm down. President Obama is no draft dodger, but then again, you probably don't believe he is an american. The tea party is a joke. Any hope to affect real conservative change in the US flew out the window when Tea Partiers made it clear that only white, ultra-conservative christians are allowed.

Posted by: HappyArmyWife | October 8, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

In lawless Montgomery County, how was Armstrong to know that he was supposed to follow the laws prohibiting hate crimes?

In Montgomery County, illegal aliens are exempt from following most laws. They use fake IDs, they obtain government services with the fake IDs, and they commit other crimes with impunity. Yet they are given a free pass by Ike Leggett and the police department.

So again I ask: How is Mr. Armstrong to know which laws to follow, and which to disregard?

Posted by: postisarag | October 8, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked. Some of my best friends are ducks.

Posted by: luca_20009 | October 8, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I want to applaud all the people that did not rise to RogerRamJet2's bait. Congratulations!

I do have to agree that adding hate crime to the charge seems silly. Is it more of a crime than if he had just targeted 20 random cars?

Good thing they got him when they did. Sounds like he was starting up the scale from things to pets to people with his stabbings.

Posted by: Flicking_Gamer | October 8, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Seriously disturbed. This guy is not that far from killing someone. The posters that are anti Latino and anti immigrant better pray they aren't in the way wehn this wack job does what he is going to do.

Posted by: Freethotlib | October 8, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Not that I want defend RogerRamjet, but I think the draft dodger he's talking about is GW Bush. A lot more people entered the country illegally during the Bush years than are doing so now.

Posted by: cronaldo | October 8, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

What the duck?

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | October 8, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Not that I want to defend RogerRamjet2 (sorry Rog, anybody who uses ALL CAPS is not going to be taken seriously), but I think the draft dodger he's talking about is GW Bush. A lot more people entered the country illegally during the Bush years than are doing so now.

Posted by: cronaldo | October 8, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Nothing in this story indicates that any of the victims are here illegally. They could be U.S. citizens; they could have even been born here - yet some posters STILL want to "send them back."

I'm sure glad it's not really about ethnicity for you all.

Posted by: carlaclaws | October 8, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in Montgomery County most of my life and there's always been an influx of people from other countries. If the diversity of the area drives Mr. Armstrong to break the law, I suggest he move somewhere he is less likely to be disturbed by the presence of people who aren't like him. The bottom of the Potomac, for example.

Posted by: whowhat | October 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Pretty sad some folks think beheading a baby duck is funny.

Maybe that little duck was a small child's pet?

Sad.

So next time are you going to crack jokes if it's a puppy or small child? Maybe next time it will be yours?

Sick!

Posted by: bushido11 | October 8, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but isn't this guy the neighbor? Ofcourse he'll be seen by their house, HE LIVES THERE!!! The diversity of the neighborhood has probably depreciated MR. Armstrongs property to the point of which he cannot afford to sell and move away. Yet another problem with illegal immigrants and their fifteen "relatives" in their house.

Posted by: shojim89 | October 8, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

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