Investigators in Charles County, Maryland, used the social media app Snapchat to track down the teen suspect they say is responsible for gunning down a high school student in front of his house earlier this week.
Darryl Edward Freeman, 17, was arrested Wednesday in the killing of 17-year-old Bradley A. Brown, who was found shot to death shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday in the driveway of his Bryans Road house.
In charging documents filed Thursday in Charles County District Court, authorities said Snapchat messages sent by the two teens indicate they planned to meet up on the night Brown was killed. While the purpose of the meeting is unclear, investigators said it appears to be drug-related.
According to the charging documents, Brown, whose father is a Prince George’s County police officer, had been selling high-potency cartridges for electronic cigarettes containing THC, the active chemical in marijuana, in the days before his killing. Freeman “supposedly sells marijuana,” investigators wrote in the documents.
Freeman has been charged with first-degree murder, assault and firearms charges.
In the court documents, authorities said detectives analyzed Brown’s iPhone and turned up Snapchat messages between him and an account they said they later linked to Freeman. In one message — sent less than 40 minutes before he was gunned down — Brown messaged Freeman his address, according to the documents.
Police linked the Snapchat account to Freeman in part through a Twitter account and a football recruitment that listed his phone number. That same number was also linked to Freeman’s Snapchat account, investigators said.
Freeman is a football player at Thomas Stone High School, according to the charging documents.
Investigators also said Freeman’s 2011 Ford Fusion matches a car caught on neighbors’ home surveillance cameras speeding away after the shooting.
The motive for the shooting is still unclear.
Brown’s killing had rattled his Charles County community. The North Point High School senior ran cross-country and was enrolled in the criminal justice program.
A neighbor reported hearing gunshots at 6:53 p.m. Tuesday and then finding Brown lying in the driveway of his family’s house. The court documents said he had been shot in the chest and the leg. Investigators found two spent 9 mm shell casings nearby.
They also found a Smith & Wesson handgun on the ground lying next to Brown. The gun, which belonged to Brown’s father, had not been fired, according to investigators.
WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.