Chincoteague man pleads guilty to shooting out a car window on Rt 13

June 3, 2024

By Linda Cicoira

A young felon, who carjacked a county supervisor’s car and stole a school bus in 2019, pleaded guilty Thursday in Accomack Circuit Court to firing a 45-caliber handgun and causing a projectile to strike the windshield of a car that was pursuing him and a friend last summer.

The defendant, 22-year-old Debreon Lamont Tankard, of Cathell Street on Chincoteague, was a passenger in a car driven by 23-year-old Ashlyn Elizabeth Mace, of Market Street in Onancock, when the incident occurred last July.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of shooting at an occupied vehicle and a count of possession of a gun by a violent felon. The incident happened on the southbound turn lane of Lankford Highway near Wendy’s in Onley. Tankard could be sentenced to a maximum of 29 years in prison. Sentencing was set for August.

According to testimony, the two were fleeing the north end of Four Corner Plaza in Onley after Tankard and George Wharton, of Accomac, had a fistfight that started when Wharton made comments to Mace, who didn’t know him. A capias was issued for Wharton when he failed to show up for court Thursday.

Mace told police that she was afraid when Wharton pursued her and Tankard. Their friend, Joey Gallichio, testified that when they drove away, he heard Wharton say he was going to settle things. Wharton then got something from the trunk of his car and sped after them. Gallichio said he called his friends and warned them that he thought Wharton had a gun.

Mace told police that she recently bought the pistol. She said her driver’s side window would not come down and she was unable to shoot a warning shot out the window behind her. So, she gave the gun to Tankard, not knowing that he was a felon, and told him to shoot. Wharton had pulled up behind them. After Tankard fired the gun, the two fled the backroads to Grangeville near Wachapreague Road, where the gun was thrown near some chicken houses.

Mace pleaded not guilty to maliciously shooting at an occupied vehicle as a second principal. Judge Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. said she was scared. that it was spur of the moment, and she wanted to scare him off. “It was certainly ill-advised for her. It’s a felony. I cannot find her guilty,” the judge said.

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Accomack investigators looked for Mace’s car, the weapon, a gun receipt, and other items that came with the purchase of the weapon. They never located the gun. But they did uncover purchase information for the gun at Tankard’s home. The shell casing matched ammo also found there. Mace’s car was left in Exmore that night.

    An Onley officer who was patrolling the area found Wharton and his car. He said Wharton’s face was bloody from glass striking him when the windshield was hit. Wharton was taken to the nearby hospital for treatment. He was not seriously injured.

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