By Candace Rondeaux
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Prince George's County police charged a Langley Park man with first-degree murder yesterday in the fatal stabbing of one man and critical wounding of another during an attempted robbery -- the latest crime in a spate of violence in the neighborhood that has left two dead and two severely injured in the past week.
Police sources and area residents said that the densely populated, heavily Latino neighborhood has been plagued with gang activity and that investigators are looking into the possibility that one of the crimes was gang-related.
The most recent killing occurred about midnight Sunday in the 1400 block of Kanawha Street. Police said Eusemio Augustin-Romero, 21, was standing near the entrance of his apartment building talking with two acquaintances when a man demanded money from them at knifepoint. The assailant then plunged a knife into Augustin-Romero's stomach and stabbed a second man as the third ran for help, said Lt. April Delabrer, a police spokeswoman.
Augustin-Romero was pronounced dead at an area hospital a short time later. The second victim, whose name was not released, suffered severe injuries to his stomach and was listed yesterday in critical condition, Delabrer said.
Police arrested Joaquin Guzman-Lemus, 41, about an hour later, after a witness helped investigators identify him, Delabrer said. Guzman-Lemus, who also faces a charge of armed robbery, was being held without bond yesterday at the Prince George's jail.
The killing was the second in a week within a two-block area. Investigators had been canvassing the neighborhood for several days in search of clues to the July 22 slaying of 16-year-old Ferdy Martinez in the 8100 block of 15th Avenue.
A police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry is ongoing, said investigators are looking into whether the Latino gang MS-13 might be linked to that shooting. The source said that it is not clear whether Martinez, who immigrated to the United States from Guatemala five years ago, had connections to the gang.
In the July 22 incident, a sport-utility vehicle entered the Langley Park Villas apartment complex in the 8100 block of 15th Avenue about 12:30 a.m. and pulled up to the curb, where Martinez stood talking to a 19-year-old friend. Several shots were fired from the vehicle, neighbors said, and both teenagers were hit.
The SUV sped away across the parking lot as Martinez, bleeding profusely from his wounds, tried to run toward his home. He did not get far before collapsing in front of his family's apartment, neighbors said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The condition of the 19-year-old, whose name has not been released, was not known yesterday, but police said he is expected to survive.
For the past few days, an electric signboard posted by police about two blocks from the location of Martinez's slaying has flashed the words " Homicido Aqui" -- homicide here -- and a number to call to provide information. But yesterday, few of the people passing by seemed to pay attention.