Man held in fatal stabbing at YMCA

Andre Lamont Price Jefferson

EASTON — A 31-year-old man is being held in connection with a fatal stabbing Thursday at the Talbot County YMCA.

Just before 8 a.m. that day, Easton Police Department officers were dispatched to the YMCA in response to an altercation, a statement from the department said. Upon arrival, officers found the suspect on the lobby floor. The victim, 72-year-old John Joseph Cassidy, was located on the floor of the men’s locker room, suffering from stab wounds.

“Both subjects were transported by ambulance to the University of Maryland-Easton Hospital,” the statement said. “Mr. Cassidy later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.” The suspect was treated and released to police custody.
After the altercation, the suspect attempted to leave the site, “but members of the YMCA stopped him,” the police statement said.

Andre Lamont Price Jefferson, of Easton, has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, armed robbery and robbery, reckless endangerment, wear and carry a concealed weapon and attempted theft under $100. He has been released to the custody of the Talbot County Detention Center.

Investigation revealed that an altercation occurred in the men’s locker room. “The motive and any known relationship between the males are still under investigation,” the statement said.

Police spent much of the morning interviewing many potential witnesses and processing the crime scene. Talbot County Department of Emergency Services assisted with facilitating access to grief counselors.

Many members of the public posted their condolences on social media. Michelle Smith wrote, “Our hearts are broken for Mr Cassidy and his family…Thoughts and prayers out to the family and all the good people at the Y.”

Paula Riesberg wrote, “I was there. I want to give a shout out to the YMCA staff – very professional and knew what to do. They all remained calm and attentive to the clients.”

“Thank you so much to those brave employees who stopped this man from leaving,” Rachel Goloboski wrote. “Such a horrible, sad situation, but those who acted may have saved someone else’s life. Prayers to all involved.”

YMCA leadership chose to remain closed through the weekend, “as members of our staff, volunteers and community continue to grieve the loss,” a statement from the facility said. There was a candlelight vigil in honor of John Cassidy and the Cassidy family on the front steps of the YMCA on Sunday. Presiding over the vigil were Rabbi Peter Hyman from Temple B’nai Israel, the Rev. William T. Wallace from Union United Methodist Church and the Rev. James Nash from Saints Peter and Paul Parish.

The Easton Police Department asks any witnesses to contact detectives. “Easton Police thank all who assisted and the cooperation of the community,” the department said.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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