A Suitland youth was charged yesterday in the death of an Oxon Hill teenager who was beaten, kicked and then run over after he offered to buy a Slurpee for a girl outside a convenience store, Prince George's County police said.
Police said Emmanuel A. McClain, who turns 16 today, was charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the death early Sunday of Michael Antonio Bassett, 18. The arrest was the first in the case, and authorities continue to search for several others who they said assaulted Bassett and his two friends, who escaped serious injury.
Bassett was to graduate next week from Oxon Hill High School. McClain, who is known by the nickname "Elmo,'' attends Suitland High School. Police have said the two apparently did not know each other.
Accompanied by his attorney, McClain surrendered to police at headquarters in Palmer Park shortly before 5 p.m. About a half-hour later, after he invoked his right not to speak to investigators, McClain was led in handcuffs to an unmarked police cruiser. He said nothing and kept his eyes on the ground.
A county commissioner denied bond to McClain, and he was transported to the county jail in Upper Marlboro. The teenager, of the 5000 block of Silver Hill Court, faces a formal arraignment this afternoon.
Cpl. Diane Richardson, a police spokeswoman, said investigators "have an idea as to which role" McClain played in the beating of Bassett, part of which was captured on the 7-Eleven's surveillance video. She declined to elaborate.
Charging documents state that McClain was identified through tips and the surveillance video and by witnesses.
As for the other suspects, "we have an idea who some of the [others] are, but we need help identifying them," Richardson said. "We're working on several good leads, and detectives continue to be encouraged by the tips that are pouring in."
Richardson asked that anyone with information about the case contact the department's Crime Solvers at 800-673-2777.
McClain's attorney, Antoini M. Jones, did not return a phone call seeking comment. But he told WRC-TV that his client had a "minor role in the case, and he voluntarily surrendered himself based on his minor role in the case."
According to charging documents, McClain confronted Bassett inside the 7-Eleven in the 5400 block of Silver Hill Road, where Bassett had stopped with two friends about 3:15 a.m. after a night of dancing. The two had argued over Bassett's offer to buy a Slurpee for the girl, identified only as a witness.
"A physical altercation ensued and [McClain] and several other male suspects chased the victim into the street," the documents state. "[McClain] was among a group of male suspects who assaulted [Bassett] in the roadway and left him there incapacitated."
Witnesses heard several gunshots as Bassett fled the area, according to the documents. A short time later, he was struck by at least two vehicles. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Richardson said an autopsy conducted by the state's medical examiner found that Bassett died of multiple injuries. She said it had not yet been determined whether Barrett died from the beating or from being run over.
Images taken from the surveillance video were enhanced, and detectives spent much of yesterday showing them to witnesses. At least one witness told police that McClain, who they said was captured on the tape, was involved in the beating, according to the charging documents.
Police said the grainy color video showed one suspect in a crouched position ready to strike Bassett.
Part of the beating was also taped, they said.