Man Charged in Langley Park Double Homicide
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Prince George's County police have made an arrest in a double homicide earlier this year in Langley Park which was part of a spate of violence in which three people were killed and three others injured in a five-block area.
Detectives arrested Edgar A. Reyes last week in connection with the double killing Aug. 10 in the parking lot of a Toys R Us store. Police said the killings were the result of a drug deal gone bad.
The victims, Cesar "Chapin" Mayorga, 27, and Anibal Hernandez Cruz, 28, were sleeping on a grassy median in the 8100 block of New Hampshire Avenue when they were attacked at 6:30 a.m. A 26-year-old man with them was also knifed and survived.
Reyes, 30, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He lives in the 1000 block of Merrimac Drive, several blocks from the site of the killings, according to police.
Two days after Mayorga and Hernandez Cruz were killed, a teenage girl was cut in the neck after an argument. And two days after that, a man's hand was nearly severed by a machete on the same day that Lucas Lazaro Felipe, 25, was beaten, stomped and cut in the face with the edges of broken beer bottles. He died shortly thereafter, and police made an arrest in the case.
Capt. Andrew Ellis, spokesman for Prince George's police, said the double homicides were not among the eight killings in the county this year that were gang related.
"I believe people will take comfort in the fact that this was not gang related," Ellis said. "Initially, there was speculation that this involved gang activity."
Mayorga and Hernandez Cruz were killed in a spot known as a gathering place for men to drink beer and often sleep. An unofficial pickup site for day laborers is half a block away. The victims probably consumed alcohol and fell asleep on the median of the parking lot, never seeing the knives that killed them, police said at the time.
Mayorga, 34, originally from Guatemala, lived in an apartment in the same block as the toy store. Relatives said he would sometimes sleep outdoors. He was found shirtless.
Hernandez Cruz, 28, of the 1300 block of Merrimac Drive was discovered on a wide piece of cardboard being used as a makeshift bed, police said. Friends said he was from Honduras.
After the killings, neighbors said that some of the men who hung out in the parking lot were homeless and that others simply enjoyed the company and conversation in Spanish, their native language.
Bill Hanna, executive secretary of the nonprofit neighborhood group Action Langley Park, said it is good for the neighborhood when police close cases, especially violent crimes.
"I'm delighted someone is arrested," Hanna said. "Let's hope that it deters other people from doing that kind of thing."
Hanna said he didn't think the arrest would ease tensions in the neighborhood among people who do not feel secure.
"The arrest will be noticed," he said. "I'm not sure it'll make people say, 'Oh, now I'm safe.' "