Suspected double homicide is under investigation in Arlington

August 7, 2012

Arlington, a county that did not have a murder for more than two years, has suddenly been hit by deadly violence: four people dead in a matter of two weeks, including two whose bodies were found by a maintenance man Tuesday in an apartment near Lee Highway.

The most recent discovery devastated relatives and friends of the victims and surprised police, who said this kind of bloodshed is unusual in the county.

“I wouldn’t call this normal for Arlington,” Police Chief M. Douglas Scott said. “We went over two years without a homicide. It shows how lucky we were in that two-year period.”

Keefe Spriggs, 59, and Carl Moten, 31, were found Tuesday morning after a friend could not reach one of the men and asked a maintenance man to check on them. Spriggs lived in the apartment in the 1900 block of North Culpeper Street. Moten, who had a job but was homeless, was staying there.

Police are still investigating their deaths. They did not say how the men died, but they did say the case appears to be a double homicide.

Authorities said the killings in recent weeks are not related, and they’ve closed two of the three incidents.

On July 24, Juan Carlos Mox Mox killed his wife, Xiomara Aracely Benitez, and then himself near the Fairlawn neighborhood. Three days later, jewelry store owner Tommy Wong was fatally shot during a robbery in his store on Columbia Pike. In that case, police arrested D.C. resident James Sylvester Caroline.

Tuesday’s case, police say, is a mystery.

Relatives and friends of the victims stood outside the apartment complex after the bodies were found, some crying, others screaming in grief.

Diane Thompson, a woman who called herself a friend of both men, said she went to school with Spriggs and her son was friends with Moten.

“Its unbelievable,” Thompson said. “I don’t understand how it happened.”

Paul Terry, 59, said he was friends with both men and saw them Sunday night. He said Moten, who has five children, sometimes stayed at his house.

“We’re a tight-knit community,” Terry said. “They don’t bother nobody. Everybody around here is friends.”

Reached by phone, Spriggs’s mother declined to comment. Relatives of Moten remembered him as a father and a man who loved to play and watch sports.

Scott said he has confidence in the detectives investigating the case. He said the squad worked round-the-clock in the case of the jewelry store owner to make an arrest last week.

“We do our best. We go after it as aggressively as we can to be able to identify suspects and quickly bring charges,” Scott said.

Scott warned residents that they should be aware that no place is immune to violence. “Even when you feel like you live in a very, very safe area, these things do occur and can occur,” Scott said.

Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this story.

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