Detectives search for more clues in principal's slaying

Police made an arrest Monday in connection with the April 15 slaying of Brian Betts, a principal at D.C.'s Shaw Middle School. Betts's death has drawn an outpouring across the D.C. area.
By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 19, 2010

Montgomery County homicide detectives spent more than four hours Sunday inside the home of slain school principal Brian Betts as the probe into his shooting death entered its third day.

Detectives are trying to learn who was with Betts in his final hours. At one point, an officer retrieved a black toolbox and other items from the evidence van and brought them into the house. Detectives could be seen carrying at least one brown paper bag, the kind typically used to store evidence, from the home.

Forensics experts also showed up at the house in Silver Spring, just south of the Capital Beltway.

"They're revisiting the scene, seeing if there is anything they missed," said Capt. Paul Starks, a police spokesman.

Detectives who went in and out of the house Sunday declined to comment.

Well-wishers came by Betts's house as well, leaving flowers just off the curb in his front yard. Shelagh Smith, who knew Betts through her daughter, drove 30 minutes from Rockville to leave green roses. "He really believed he could turn kids lives around, and I think he did," Smith said. "He showed a special kindness."

Neighbors said they saw Betts in his back yard Wednesday evening. The next day, he didn't show up at Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson, in the District. That evening, a co-worker went to his house to check on him, was able to go inside, saw a light on upstairs, left the house and called police. Officers found Betts's clothed body in one of his bedrooms.

Police remained tight-lipped about the case Sunday, refusing to divulge new information.

On Saturday, Betts's SUV turned up 14 miles away in Southeast Washington. Investigators have made no arrests in the death of Betts, who was remembered for his dedication to students.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company