WINCHESTER — Police are trying to determine if Wayne Lamont Starks Jr.’s death was accidental or a homicide.

Authorities found Starks shot in the neck in a car outside a townhouse in the 100 block of Diamond Court in Frederick County around 2:05 a.m. Tuesday, according to Lt. Warren W. Gosnell, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. The 25-year-old Starks was pronounced dead at Winchester Medical Center a short time later.

Gosnell wrote in a news release that a 911 caller said the shooting was accidental. But he said police are investigating it as a possible homicide until foul play can be ruled out or established. Gosnell said a man he didn’t identify was in the back of a Toyota Prius with Starks applying direct pressure to Starks’ wound when police arrived. Witnesses said Starks was shot in the basement of the home and moved to the Toyota to take him to the hospital.

The townhouse is located off Valley Mill Road and Berryville Avenue. About 16 deputies or state troopers as well as two ambulances and fire trucks responded to the scene, resident Eddie Bellett said in an interview on Tuesday evening. Bellett, who said he heard nothing unusual before police arrived, said law enforcement remained on the scene until about 2 p.m.

“It was a hell of a lot of congestion. You couldn’t get out,” he said. “They said it was a crime scene investigation.”

Gosnell said at least three men and two women were in the home when the shooting occurred.

A 9 mm semiautomatic pistol believed to have been used in the shooting was found at the scene, but Gosnell didn’t specify where it was located. Besides the pistol, additional guns and what appeared to be drugs were seized from the home.

Gosnell wouldn’t say what type of guns were seized or what type or amount of alleged drugs were confiscated. He said search warrants were executed related to the shooting, but he wouldn’t say where and wouldn’t say what was sought. A search warrant related to the shooting that was filed on Tuesday in Frederick County Circuit Court was sealed.

Starks was from Winchester but living in Morgantown, West Virginia, according to his Facebook page. It said he attended Warren County High School and Potomac State College in West Virginia.

— Contact Evan Goodenow at

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