A shooting incident that occurred early last Saturday morning in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish area of Pikesville was many months in the making, according to Menashe Efron, whose son and daughter-in-law live in the home where the attack occurred.
When Baltimore County police responded to a suspicious-person call at 2 a.m. at the home of Noam and Leah Efron in the 3100 block of Northbrook Road, an officer observed a woman standing in front of the house. As he approached, the officer saw her throw a large rock at the house, which broke a window. The woman, identified on Monday as Stephanie Kamlot, 40, then pulled out a handgun, which turned out to be a metallic replica of a large-caliber semiautomatic handgun.
Several times, the officer ordered Kamlot to drop the weapon, but she refused. The situation escalated, according to a statement by Baltimore County Police, and the officer fired, hitting Kamlot, who received multiple wounds to her upper body. She was transported to a local hospital, where, at the time of this writing, she remains in stable condition.
According to Menashe Efron, Kamlot has been stalking the young couple, who have a 3-year-old daughter, for almost two years. The stalking began when the younger Efrons lived at the nearby Pickwick apartments, between 2010 and 2012. The couple had little to no interaction with the woman — other than saying hello in the parking lot — until she started directing disturbing behavior toward them, such as placing razor blades under the tires of Leah Efron’s car.
“There was no history between us,” said Noam Efron in an interview with the JT. “One time, she asked us if we wanted some toys for our baby. We politely declined. That was it.”
Noam Efron said he and his wife tried to avoid her, as she “looked kind of unhinged.”
But then she started stalking them. One particular incident, he said, occurred just after midnight when a screaming hooded person banged on their apartment window.
“It drove us out,” said Noam Efron, who at the time did not know that Kamlot was the culprit. The couple moved into Menashe and Bracha Efron’s home, also in the area, but the stalking continued with more razor blades and a window-smashing rock.
Ultimately, the Efrons obtained a restraining order, and police became involved.
Noam Efron said that shortly before Passover, and just after they moved out of Pickwick, Kamlot accosted Leah Efron at Seven Mile Market.
“She basically was just talking crazy; she said she wanted to kill me,” Noam Efron said. “[There was] a lot of cursing and threats. She did not point to anything specific.”
He noted that Kamlot was then charged with second-degree assault, and sentencing for that case is pending. Baltimore County spokesman Shawn Vinson would not confirm any prior record, but he did say there was previous interaction between the family and the accused.
On Sunday, police said an investigation determined that Kamlot threatened the officer with the replica. Detectives have requested an emergency mental health evaluation for the woman.
Additionally, police have received a warrant charging Kamlot with first-degree assault and obstruction of justice. Kamlot’s name could not be released until she was officially charged, which, according to Vinson, had to be after her medical treatment — and mental health evaluation — was completed. As of Monday, Kamlot was charged with first degree assault and obstruction of justice in connection with a police-involved shooting. She will be transferred to the Baltimore City Detention Center upon release from the hospital. She was given a bail amount of $500,000.
Noam Efron walked through the incident with the JT, saying it was approximately 10 minutes between the time a first rock was thrown through a back window of the home until the time he called police and they arrived at the scene. During the interim, Kamlot sat on the stairs of his front porch. She threw a second rock through a front window as police arrived and then began to wave the gun around.
“I was scared,” said Noam Efron. “Yeah, terrified.”
Their daughter, he said, slept through the whole incident.
Neighbor Brian Singer witnessed the event from his home directly across the street. He said he and his wife went to bed Friday night after Shabbat dinner and were awoken by sounds of gunfire. Both jumped out of bed simultaneously.
“My wife said, ‘Call the police.’ I said, ‘They are already here,’” Singer said, noting he saw police car lights through his front window, which faces the Efrons’ house.
Singer first went down the hall to check on his 14-year-old son. When he saw the boy was OK — though also awake — he looked out the window.
“It was like a scene from ‘Law & Order’ on TV,” recalled Singer. “Dozens of police cars on the street, police with guns drawn. And we saw somebody down on the lawn across the street.”
Singer said that once Kamlot was taken away, the area was taped off and a forensics team arrived and set up a tent. Menashe and Bracha Efron walked up the street at that time (they are shomer Shabbat), but they were unable to approach their son and daughter-in-law’s home while police worked. Instead, they went inside the Singers’ house, where they recited Psalms.
Singer said Noam told him that “the police were very patient and they took a long time to get her to lower the weapon.”
Singer also noted that this case is very unfortunate. He is concerned about the family’s safety but also saddened by Kamlot’s predicament.
“We daven that they should be safe,” said Singer, “but also that this woman should have a refuah shleimah [complete healing]. She should get her mental capacities back and be healthy.”
Vinson noted that neighbors should not be concerned for their security at this time. Police believe this was an isolated incident.
“This was a random act for that area, and as we continue to complete the investigation, we do not believe this will be considered a hate crime,” he said.
Noam Efron, too, called recent events “crazy.” He said Pickwick “is nice and peaceful, with kids all over the place.”
But his advice: “Be careful of crazies. You just never know.”
Noam Efron said all of his friends have been calling, and his neighbors have been showing an outpouring of support.
“Everyone has been really great,” he said.
Maayan Jaffe is JT managing editor — firstname.lastname@example.org