Six Slain In D.C., Prince George's

By Mary Beth Sheridan and Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 29, 2007

Four men were killed in the District and two others were fatally shot in Prince George's County in a burst of violence Saturday night and early yesterday, police said.

There was no apparent connection between the six slayings, which included an attack with a baseball bat in Northwest Washington, an apparent robbery in Southeast Washington and a shooting in Oxon Hill, where a gunman fired several times through a sliding-glass door into a man's living room.

Police made an arrest in one of the six cases.

The incidents occurred just weeks after D.C. police announced that homicides had hit a 21-year low in 2006. Killings also declined sharply in Prince George's last year.

The office of D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said last night that Fenty, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor will hold a news conference this morning at the site of one of the slayings in Southeast to discuss "their commitment to solve murder investigations in the city and strategies to prevent future homicides."

Two of the weekend slayings occurred in or near Washington's central Shaw neighborhood, where residents have been complaining about a jump in gun violence.

At 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police discovered the body of a 29-year-old man, shot several times, in the first-floor stairwell of an apartment building in the 1500 block of Seventh Street NW, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman. He said police had no suspects in the killing of Deon A. Peoples, who lived in the 1400 block of V Street NW.

Court records show that Peoples was convicted in the 1990s of property destruction, assault and distribution of heroin and cocaine. His mother, Helen Peoples, said he had served jail time but had "turned his life around," becoming a hospital orderly.

Residents said the neighborhood has been plagued by gang violence in recent months. "People are comparing this to the crime waves in the late '80s, early '90s," said Carmen Gilotte. "It's just constant."

Another man was killed about 2:45 a.m. yesterday several blocks away, on 11th Street NW between M and N streets. The man was swinging a baseball bat at other men when one of them grabbed it and dealt him a fatal blow, Gentile said.

A security guard working nearby detained the alleged assailant, Herman Melendez, 21, who has been charged with murder, police said. The dead man's name was not known, nor was Melendez's address, police said.

The other killings in the District were east of the Anacostia River.

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