High-Profile Homicides in Prince George's County Remain Unsolved
Thursday, June 25, 2009
When Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey announced this month that he did not have enough evidence to prosecute guards in the jailhouse death of Ronnie L. White -- a death ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner -- county civil rights leaders expressed dismay that such a killing might go unsolved and unpunished.
White's death, however, remains just one of several unsolved high-profile cases in the county in the past year. Unlike White's, many involved clear homicides of innocent victims, and suspects remain elusive.
The killings have shaken communities, left families reeling and haunted some of the county's best detectives and prosecutors.
For many, the slaying of 8-month-old Anthony M. Savoy III in late summer remains one of the most urgent unsolved cases. Anthony was strapped into his car seat in the back seat of his mother's minivan outside a Suitland apartment building Sept. 3 when a bullet from an automatic weapon ripped through the van, killing him almost instantly.
A gunman with an Uzi, possibly targeting the boy's parents, sprayed more than a dozen shots at the van, jumped in a waiting car and fled.
In the days after the killing, police seemed confident they would find Anthony's killer. Investigators thought the attack might have been linked to a woman killed outside a District Metro stop days earlier, and police had a description, albeit limited, of the gunman seen leaving the scene: a black and heavyset, or possibly muscular, man wearing dreadlocks and a black T-shirt. He fled in a dark-colored Chevrolet Impala with two other men.
Maj. Lawrence Gordon, commander of the department's major crimes unit, said police are working the case, and he said the trail has not gone cold. Still, he said, police have not been able to rule out several possible suspects and motives, and help from the community -- a tip about the killer, motive or one of those who aided in the getaway -- could jump-start the investigation.
"The only thing we've ruled out is that the 8-month-old wasn't the target," he said. "One phone call could break this case wide open, and I hope that is the case."
Many in the department's rank-and-file hope so, too. Several officers as well as firefighters and paramedics who responded to the shooting attended counseling in the days after. Some said the image of the child's body in his car seat was one of the most tragic of their careers.
Gordon said that although the killings of Anthony and other innocent victims have received more attention than others in recent months, the pain some police have acknowledged publicly about his death is felt daily by detectives working every homicide.
"Investigators take all of these cases to heart," Gordon said. "Every night, they take them home. They empathize with the families of the victims."
Another street killing has stumped police even more. For reasons that remain a mystery, police said, Sean N. Green, 31, was slain Nov. 12 as he left his apartment during rush hour for a typical evening trip to the gym. A masked gunman walked up to Green's Cadillac and shot him nine times through the driver-side window at a red light off the Capital Beltway near Oxon Hill, then fled without taking a thing.