HAGERSTOWN, Md. – A man who shot up his hotel room in a hallucinatory, drug-induced panic, sending bullets through occupied rooms nearby, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison by a judge who told him, "You are a dangerous person."
Edward Clarence Schneider, 56, of Los Molinos, California, acknowledged he drove his pickup truck across the country, armed with a 9 mm Glock pistol and fueled by crystal meth and beer, to visit a son on the East Coast. But Schneider said he never fired the weapon irresponsibly until the night of March 14 in a Hampton Inn in Hagerstown, about 70 miles west of Baltimore.
Hallucinating that monsters were coming through the walls, Schneider fired four shots, police said. Two bullets tore through walls or doors into occupied rooms across the hall, and at least one traveled through the hotel's exterior wall, investigators found.
"I never would have done it if I had not been high on crystal meth," the apologetic fuel-tanker driver told Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long.
Long rejected Assistant Public Defender Amy Taylor's pleas for leniency and loudly scolded Schneider. Given the length of his cross-country trip and his bingeing behavior, Long said, "the real benefit is, nobody got shot up or killed before this particular escapade."
Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said Schneider was lucky he himself wasn't shot after pointing his gun at police who used a master key to enter his room.
Schneider pleaded guilty in November to one count each of first-degree assault and use of a firearm in a crime of violence.
Long suspended another 15 years of prison time, and ordered Schneider to pay about $5,000 in restitution to the hotel.