A sprawling melee erupted at Friendly High School in Prince George’s County Tuesday morning, and investigators believe it might have sprung from “tensions” over the fatal, off-campus shooting of a sophomore there this past weekend, authorities said.
In the end, police charged three people, including two Friendly High students, with second-degree assault in connection with the fight, said Lt. William Alexander, a Prince George’s County police spokesman. He said one student, who was 18, will be charged as an adult, and so will a 21-year-old relative of a student who was also involved in the fracas. The third combatant, also a student, will be charged as a juvenile, Alexander said.
Detectives have not yet made any arrests in the slaying of 16-year-old Marcus Antonio Jones, who was fatally shot about midnight Saturday as he walked to a car in the 7700 block of Webster Lane in Fort Washington, Alexander said. He said detectives believe Jones was leaving a house party — well-supervised by adults and apparently devoid of drugs or alcohol — when he was killed.
Detectives are still probing a motive in the case, and, “reportedly, there were no problems inside the party,” Alexander said. The fight Tuesday at the school, he said, merely stemmed from “tensions” about the killing.
“We think it’s related to just emotions running high following the murder of a 16-year-old over the weekend,” Alexander said.
School officials said they dispatched grief counselors to Friendly High following Jones’s slaying, and those counselors and additionally security would remain there throughout the week. Police also announced they would hold a community meeting at Friendly High Wednesday night to discuss developments in Jones’s slaying.
The trouble at Friendly Tuesday started about 7:20 a.m., Alexander said, when officers were sent to the school for a report of a brawl involving as many as 10 people. When they arrived, Alexander said, school security personnel had largely broken up the fight, and those involved were dispersing. Then another fight broke out, Alexander said.
The three charged with second-degree assault were involved in the second fight, which occurred outside the school, Alexander said. He said he could not immediately name those charged as adults because detectives were still preparing paperwork on their cases.
Police also charged two other students on unrelated matters — one who was caught with drugs fallin out of his pocket, and the other who was disorderly with police and who possibly assaulted an officer, Alexander said.
Jones’s slaying marks the fourth killing of a student in the Prince George’s County School system since August. In that month, 17-year-old Amber Stanley, a student at Charles H. Flowers High School, was shot to death inside her family’s home in Kettering. The next month, 18-year-old Marckel Norman Ross was shot to death as he walked to Central High School. Both cases remain unsolved, though police say they have strong leads.
Last month, 14-year-old Eliezer Benjamin Reyes, a student at an alternative school in Largo, was killed in what police called a gang-related murder. Police have charged two suspects in that case.
Briant Coleman, a Prince George’s County Schools spokesman, said the slayings are “really troublesome,” though he noted they have all occurred off school grounds.
“Our schools are safe,” Coleman said. “We need the public’s help to ensure that when something happens in the community, that they immediately notify the police department so that those incidents do not trickle over into the schoolhouse.
This item has been updated to correct the date of the community meeting.