BALTIMORE — Authorities on Friday arrested a Maryland teenager in the fatal shooting of a builder's representative inside a suburban model home, a killing that's rattled real estate agents and others who sell the kind of properties where the victim was attacked.
Police in Anne Arundel County identified the arrested suspect as Dillon Nicholas Augustyniak, an 18-year-old from the Maryland town of Jessup. He was captured early Friday in Baltimore and charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and other charges.
Investigators allege he fatally shot Steven Wilson, 33, in the model home where he was working late Wednesday afternoon. The married father of two young children, who was employed as a sales and marketing representative for builder Ryan Homes, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police Chief Timothy Altomare said robbery was the motive. In charging documents, police allege the teen stole Wilson's phone and laptop and investigators believe he tried to sell the gun he used in the killing.
It wasn't immediately clear if Augustyniak had an attorney. Friday calls to the suspect's possible relatives went unanswered.
Police had no indication that other model homes or real estate offices were being targeted. Altomare portrayed the robbery and slaying as impulse meeting opportunity on the part of a violent criminal.
"While I won't say that real estate agents shouldn't be vigilant and concerned, as I think everyone should for their safety, we have no indication that there's a particular threat to the industry at this time," the county police chief told reporters Friday.
Bob Johnston, CEO of the Anne Arundel County Association of Realtors, said Wilson was not a licensed real estate agent, but a builder's representative tasked with marketing and selling his employer's homes.
"It's still a real estate-related thing, there's no question about it. And we're extremely concerned and putting that out to our members because it could have been one of them," Johnston told The Associated Press, adding that self-defense trainings were increasingly commonplace in the industry.
In the wake of Wilson's killing, real estate agents took to social media to share their anxieties. Tanisha Ashford, who sells homes from her base in Maryland's Upper Marlboro, told the AP she was taking extra precautions, saying the homicide underscored how vulnerable real estate agents and other sellers can be when showing properties.
The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis reported that police wrote in charging documents that someone "was breathing heavily and sounded to be in distress" during the 911 call that alerted them to the model home where Wilson was found. As the dispatcher tried to figure out what was going on, another voice in the background could be heard saying: "Where is the money" and "Who are you talking to?"
Altomare said investigators were able to make an arrest some 31 hours after Wilson's battered body was found due to the involvement of multiple community tipsters "giving us pieces of the puzzle."
Wilson's family has described him as a "loving husband, father, son, brother, and friend." A spokesman for the parent company of Ryan Homes, Virginia-based NVR Inc., declined to comment.