BY A STAFF WRITER
BURTONSVILLE, MD – The police say a dispute over McDonald's food prompted a young man to use his newly-purchased handgun to murder his roommate.
Jason Berrios, 21, of Burtonsville, is now facing charges of second-degree murder and drug possession with the intent to distribute.
Berrios and three friends purchased late-night food at the McDonald's located along the 15500 block of Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville. The group then returned to Berrios' ramshackle rental home at 4500 Sandy Spring Road, located a mile away from the fast-food restaurant.
Berrios' roommate, Syed Asad Hasan, 22, was annoyed that no one had bought a McDonald's meal for him. Berrios and Hasan began to yell at one another. Their friends described the dispute as, "guys being guys, messing around."
However, to everyone's surprise, the police say Berrios snapped, grabbed a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun, aimed it at Hasan and fired one shot.
One of the men at the home called 911 to report the shooting. Dispatchers could hear Berrios wailing and shouting in the background,
"I didn't know it was loaded." By the time first responders arrived, Hasan was on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest and a shell casing beside his body. He died shortly thereafter.
The police initially only pinned the drug-dealing charge against Berrios, because they were having trouble locating the murder weapon. In mid-September, detectives located the handgun hidden in a woodpile behind the rental home.
The Montgomery County Police Department's Firearm Examination Unit performed a thorough examination on the weapon and determined it had fired the fatal bullet.
Detectives also uncovered a "bill of sale" for the 9mm handgun in Berrios' 2006 Mercedes-Benz. A loaded 9mm magazine was also discovered stashed in a box in Berrios' bedroom.
Despite a stack of incriminating evidence, Berrios, who is represented by a Rockville defense attorney, has continuously claimed that he did not "think or know the gun was loaded."
Berrios remains behind bars in Montgomery County while awaiting trial. Should he be found guilty of second-degree murder, a judge could impose a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
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