PALMER PARK, Md. - Since Saturday, there have been seven homicides in Prince George’s County in an unusual spike of violent crime that has residents looking for answers.
Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski held a news conference on Thursday to address what he believes might be behind all of this. He said of the seven murders that have occurred, six of the cases have a nexus of people who knew each other with longstanding disputes. He said two of the cases should be closed very soon while two others appear to be cases of self-defense.
“What we have seen is atypical for our community in the present context,” said the police chief. “We have seen a spate of homicides. In all save one, and it may be the case with that one, which is the unfortunate incident on the beltway, these are interpersonal disputes. In the majority of these cases, these are longstanding – the people are familiar with one another.”
The most recent incident happened just after 1 a.m. Thursday in District Heights. Police found two men in their late 20s suffering from gunshot wounds in the parking lot of the Woodland Springs Apartments. Both men were pronounced dead on the scene. The motive is unclear is in this case.
On Saturday afternoon, police said two men broke into a home on Lusbys Lane in Brandywine where there was a shootout. One of the assailants was killed and the homeowner was justified in using deadly force, according to police.
Last Saturday night, Stawinski said investigators still are uncertain why 55-year-old Adriano Lombre, a father of four, was shot inside his car on the Beltway on northbound Interstate 495 at Pennsylvania Avenue. The police chief said detectives have some information to work with but need more.
We do have information we think is very viable,” Chief Stawinski said. “We do have other leads outside of that information talking to people that we believe will lead to a conclusion in this matter. It is a difficult case.”
He added, “We have been using license plate readers, traffic cameras, various methods of looking at routes of travel – ingress, egress to the Capital Beltway. We have been talking to people.”
Stawinski said the homicide rate is down when compared to the same time last year, and their homicide closure rate at this point is 80 percent.