The Washington Post

Relatives say 5-year-old girl witnessed father’s slaying in Prince George’s County

A man was fatally shot in his apartment in Capitol Heights on Tuesday, and relatives said it happened in front of his 5-year-old daughter.

Prince George’s County Police are looking for anyone with information on the attack in the 1200 block of Benning Road in Capitol Heights.

Authorities received a call around 7 p.m. to check on a man at his apartment, according to Cpl. Clinton Copeland. When police arrived, they found the man with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police did not identify the victim, but a woman who said she was the victim’s aunt said he was Dewey Chappell.

Gladys Chappell said a neighbor learned of the shooting when her nephew’s 5-year-old daughter came out of her apartment. “She ran outside with blood on her,” Chappell said.

Chappell said the victim was 41 and lived in the apartment with his wife and daughter. She said he had recently taken a job in construction.

Crystal Harris, Gladys Chappell’s daughter, recalled growing up with Dewey Chappell, who would jokingly remind her that he could boss her around because he was four months older. Harris, who sat next to Chappell in elementary school classes, remained a close confidante throughout his life.

“I’ve never known him to bring harm to anyone,” Harris said. “He met no stranger. He just tried to be everyone’s friend.”

Gladys Chappell remembered her sister’s son: “He was funny. He was jolly. He was smart.”

“What happened? I wish I knew. I don’t know what brought this on. I don’t know why they would just pick him out of a crowd,” she said. “For somebody to do that in front of a child is unbelievable.”

Other neighbors, who described themselves as relatives of the victim, told Channel 4 Tuesday night that two masked men entered the apartment and killed Chappell.

Harris said the child reported that the intruders were wearing Halloween masks. Harris said she thought they may have been robbers, and that Chappell — a boxer who went by the name Dew Drop in the ring — would likely have tried to fight back.

“I just think it was a robbery that went bad,” Harris said. “That’s my cousin and I know him; he put up a fight.”

According to records that match his name and date of birth, Dewey Chappell had a long criminal history. Most recently, he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and selling, distributing, or dispensing cocaine in 2009 and was on supervised release at the time of his death.

Copeland said he could not confirm whether the child saw the shooting.

“We do believe there may be two suspects. We are asking that anybody who has seen or heard anything to give us a call,” he said.

Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.
Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.

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