10th homicide in Pr. George's since start of new year

Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 10, 2011; 11:10 PM

A man was fatally stabbed in Prince George's County on Monday evening in the 10th homicide there in 10 days, while police stepped up efforts to curb the outbreak of deadly violence that has provoked concern and alarm in the suburban jurisdiction.

In the most recent incident, Juan Moreno Aguilar, 25, of Langley Park, was stabbed during a fight in a supermarket parking lot in the 2400 block of East University Boulevard in the Adelphi/Lewisdale area, authorities said. Aguilar and a second man, 24, may have been attacked by gang members who mistakenly thought they were rivals, police said.

The second man is in stable condition and expected to survive. Police did not identify him because he is a witness to a crime.

Maj. Andrew Ellis, the police department's public affairs commander, said the victims were attacked by three or four males while walking down University Boulevard. "There was no indication the victims were doing anything wrong," Ellis said.

Earlier in the day, officials said interim county Police Chief Mark Magaw had assigned a major to coordinate anti-violence efforts inside the Beltway to try to curb the rash of homicides that has plagued the county since New Year's Day.

Maj. Joseph McCann is in charge of the department's special enforcement division and now will work "to put a more cohesive focus" on the department's response to the killings, said Maj. Andrew Ellis, the department's public affairs commander.

McCann's reassignment is part of a broader effort to ratchet up law enforcement response to the homicides, Ellis said. Most of the slayings have occurred in neighborhoods within the Beltway, as did Monday night's killing.

Magaw held a conference call Monday with the county's sheriff and municipal police chiefs asking for their help. He also ordered the transfer of 19 officers into the criminal investigations and narcotics divisions.

"The purpose of that is to beef up our capacity for investigating these homicides and also to increase our capacity for preventing future homicides," Ellis said. "That's a large chunk of manpower that's being transferred."

The effort - which will include gathering intelligence during undercover drug buys and focusing patrols on troubled areas - might be difficult, as police say they have determined links between only two of the killings.

It was not clear whether Monday evening's slaying was associated with a homicide Saturday morning, which also occurred on University Boulevard, at a site about one and a half miles to the east. It also involved a stabbing or cutting.

"We don't know of any connection to the other killing, although we're checking that out," said police Maj. Robert Liberati.

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