John Boykin was sleeping on a sofa bed in the back of his father's house in Bowie when Prince George's County Sheriff's Lt. Joe Aiello and his detail moved in for the arrest.
Through a window at the back of the house, deputies kept a wary eye on Boykin, who was wanted on domestic violence and theft charges. Others moved to the front door.
Prince George's Sheriff's Sgt. Robin Watkins and deputies Dave Brown and Terrence Pettit look over an arrest warrant.
(Avis Thomas-lester -- The Washington Post)
"Prince George's County Sheriff's!" yelled Deputy Todd Powers, banging on the door. "Open the door!"
Boykin dove under the bed as deputies rushed in and grabbed him.
"We've got a 10-15," deputies announced into the police radio, using parlance for "suspect in custody."
It was 5:15 a.m., the best time of day to catch sleeping suspects for the 36 sheriff's deputies who traveled from Bowie to Brandywine as part of a nationwide sweep of domestic violence cases.
The second annual National Family Violence Apprehension Detail included law enforcement officers from 116 sheriff's departments and 137 police departments across the country who committed a portion of the day Thursday to serving domestic violence warrants. The program was organized by the Clackamas County (Ore.) Sheriff's Office to focus on suspects wanted for such crimes, said Joel R. Manley, spokesman for the department.
Locally, sheriff's deputies in Prince George's and Charles counties participated. "The idea was to shine the light on domestic violence," said Aiello, who coordinated the Prince George's effort.
About 85 percent of the agencies nationwide had reported their arrests by late yesterday, but the statistics showed that about 900 law enforcement officers had attempted to serve 3,094 warrants and had arrested 572 suspects. Prince George's deputies, who tried to serve about 100 warrants between midnight and 8 a.m., handed out seven peace orders and arrested 49 people suspected of crimes including domestic assault, stalking, rape, child abuse and attempted first-degree murder, Aiello said.
In Charles County, 18 deputies and three Maryland State Police troopers made 20 arrests, placed holds on 20 suspects in custody in other jurisdictions and served two child-support warrants in an operation that ran from 4:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., said Charles sheriff's spokeswoman Kristen Adkins.
Aiello said he scheduled the Prince George's operation early because the local domestic violence unit has great success finding suspects at night. The agency has the state's only 24-hour, seven-day-a-week team to serve domestic violence orders.
The unit, which serves more than 1,200 court orders a month, went into round-the-clock operation last year as part of a countywide effort to improve responses to domestic violence after the March 2003 slaying of Oxon Hill resident Ernestine Dyson, 32, by her husband. Tyrone Dyson had been ordered to stay away less than 24 hours before the slaying. He committed suicide after killing his wife.
"The county really came together across all agency lines, including the faith community, to step up and make sure we were dealing with" domestic violence, said Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey.
On Sunday, Ivey will visit churches in Capitol Heights and Laurel as part of his Project Safe Sunday, to engage religious communities in helping fight abuse.
The suspects arrested during this week's sweep include Boykin, 40, who was accused of violating a protective order to stay away from his wife, as well as burglary and theft in another case; Benny Richardson, 48, who was arrested in New Jersey on charges of attempted first-degree murder; and Jane Nkematah, 20, of Bowie, who was charged with stalking a woman who is dating her former boyfriend, records show.