Students from various schools, and various gangs, came to the Fort Washington house party. Before long, local crews began feuding. Phone calls were made, more gang members showed up, and then there were gunshots.
That, police believe, is how 16-year-old Marcus Antonio Jones, a Friendly High School sophomore with a fondness for tennis shoes, was killed. Jones, himself a gang member according to police, was killed in a dispute with rivals — at least two who were also teens.
On Thursday, Prince George’s County police announced they had charged those teens — Akil Darnell Ings, 17, of Suitland, and Kquantae Markies Fisher, 19, of Fort Washington — with first-degree murder and related counts in Jones’s weekend slaying.
Ings and Fisher were members of a gang known as Baby Haiti, rival of the Danger Boys, of which Jones was a member, authorities said.
Police said they think Ings was the shooter and that they are working to identify — and are searching for — a third suspect.
Reached by phone, Jones’s grandmother Barbara Beverly said she was glad to hear of the arrests but questioned whether her grandson belonged to a gang.
“You never know what your children do, but when you’re around them, I can’t even fathom him being in any kind of gang,” she said. “That boy would not hurt anybody. . . . He didn’t deserve it.”
Beverly, 67, said Jones was much like any other teenager. He liked football and basketball and rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles, she said. He collected tennis shoes, playfully pestering out-of-town relatives for money to buy more, she said. “He was just a good child,” Beverly said.
Police had previously said Jones was leaving a birthday party in the 7700 block of Webster Lane, headed to a car, when he was gunned down close to midnight Saturday. They had said the party was well-supervised, and investigators did not immediately uncover any disturbances inside.
On Thursday, though, county Police Chief Mark Magaw and other officials said there was a “dispute” at the party between the rival gangs, after which someone called Ings, Fisher and a third person to the house. The trio approached a group standing outside that included Jones, police said.
Magaw said witnesses reported hearing gunfire — at least three or four shots — and Jones was struck once. The teen died, and those involved fled, Magaw said.
Magaw said police recovered a gun at the scene and are testing it to determine if it was the weapon used to kill Jones. He said some witnesses reported seeing two guns, and investigators had not ruled out the possibility that gunfire was exchanged. It was unclear, he said, whether Jones was even the intended target.
“Right now, we’re still working through those pieces,” Magaw said.
Magaw said police do not believe any dispute in school precipitated Jones’s slaying, though police have said “tensions” over it sparked a brawl at Friendly on Tuesday morning. Three people, including two Friendly students, were charged with second-degree assault in the incident.
Police said Ings and Fisher were former students at Crossland High School.
Reached by phone, Fisher’s mother and the mother of his 5-month-old son said they did not believe he was involved in the murder or a gang member. D-nia Andrews, the mother of his son, said he was a good father who watched his boy while she was at work.
Friendly High School Principal Raynah Adams said at a news conference Thursday that school officials were aware of “associations” Friendly students had with gangs and were trying to offer them mentoring services. He said he was “aghast” by Jones’s slaying, especially because handguns played a role.
“I’m still in shock,” Adams said. “It’s a tragedy.”
Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.