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Arrests Made in Five Slayings Amid Surge of Violence

By Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 21, 2008

In Prince George's County this month, a man was shot while walking his dog in the shadow of FedEx Field; another was killed in an argument; one was robbed and left for dead while leaning on his walker; and two others were executed and dumped in a Suitland cemetery.

Acting Police Chief Roberto Hylton yesterday announced arrests in all of those cases, saying county police are responding forcefully to a surge in slayings.

"The level of violence that's occurring on the streets of Prince George's County is unacceptable, and I will not tolerate this type of violence," Hylton said. "All of our police department has been told we are going to set the tone again on the streets of this county."

The arrests close half of this month's unsolved killings in Prince George's. Homicides spiked in early November, matching the county's average monthly total for the year in the first 12 days of the month. As of last night, no slayings had occurred in the past week.

Hylton acknowledged that many homicides remain unsolved, including three at a troubled Forestville apartment complex and the puzzling death of Sean N. Green, a national security employee who was shot nine times in his car at a stoplight last week near Oxon Hill.

Still, Hylton and his command staff yesterday offered an unusual level of detail about the five cases and new statistics showing a jump in felony and misdemeanor arrests countywide since September. The increase comes as some public safety experts warn that the nation's fiscal crisis could lead to an increase in criminal activity.

The spike in homicides began near the beginning of November, said Maj. Daniel Dusseau, head of major crimes, who outlined the five cases police have solved.

The evening before Election Day, Daryl Tyrone Clark, 36, left his home in the 1800 block of Cedarwood Court in Landover to walk his dog. A half-mile away, the lights from FedEx Field were on as fans began arriving for the Redskins' showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A group of men approached Clark, shot him and fled, Dusseau said.

Detective David Morissette was assigned to the case. Clark appeared to be an innocent victim, possibly of a robbery attempt, making his death a "red ball," or high-priority case, in the department.

The case cracked open four days later, when a woman was carjacked by three men near the same location. An alert patrol officer spotted the car and gave chase. During a foot pursuit, a suspect dropped a 9mm handgun, Dusseau said.

"Fast examination of that evidence revealed that it was the same firearm used in the murder a couple days earlier, a couple blocks away," Dusseau said. Jacob Lyntellus Brooks, 19, of the 1300 block of Belle Haven Drive in Landover was charged with first-degree murder.

The day the gun was recovered, however, was shaping up to be a deadly one elsewhere in the county. About 8 a.m. Nov. 7, workers at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland discovered the bodies of two men who had been shot in the head.

Hours later, Charles Leroy Ware, 53, of Temple Hills was shot and killed in a robbery after he had stepped outside, using a walker, to work on his car.

Several detectives began studying the crime scene. The victims in the cemetery were Mario Nathaniel Shepard, 26, of Cheltenham and Kelvin Antonio Franklin, 23, of Upper Marlboro. Shepard's silver Dodge Magnum was nearby, with blood inside and exterior damage, as if it had recently been in an accident, a spokesman said at the time.

The investigation took several turns, but after Detective Kelly Rogers passed out fliers, a key tip came in about a suspect: Darrell Raynard McCarty, 19, of the 5600 block of Regency Park Court in Suitland had been in the car with the victims, police said. McCarty was found in his apartment, hiding in a pile of clothes. He later gave a statement and was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, according to police and court records.

Ware's killer, meanwhile, was also coming to light, Dusseau said. Detective F. Ordono determined that Ware had been targeted for a robbery. After studying previous crimes in the area, a suspect emerged: Brandon Christopher Reeves, 20, of the 6100 block of Middleton Lane in Temple Hills. Reeves was charged with first-degree murder and remains a suspect in at least six other robberies and carjackings, Dusseau said.

On Nov. 9, Deangelo Kevin Alston, 19, was found dead in the 4100 block of Apple Orchard Court in Suitland. Two groups of men exchanged gunfire over payment for repairs on a vehicle, Dusseau said.

Through witness accounts and a shotgun found near the scene, Detective Chris Smith was able to identify Damien Von Wheeler, 23 of the 16000 block of Excalibur Road in Bowie as a suspect in Alston's shooting, police said. Wheeler was charged with manslaughter. Alston's brother, Antwon Alston, 21, was arrested for assault.

"We're going to continue to pursue these thugs the way we have over this last couple of weeks," said Maj. Joseph McCann, commander of District 3.

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