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MD County Stabbing Marks 10th Homicide of 2011

MD County Stabbing Marks 10th Homicide of 2011

Washington Post via YellowBrix

January 11, 2011

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD – 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, the victim 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. The victim and a second man, both in their 20s, may have been attacked by gang members who mistakenly thought they were rivals, police said. The second man was expected to survive.

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.

In the Saturday morning incident, the victim was found cut about 8 a.m. after officers responded to a fight in the 1400 block of University Boulevard in the Langley Park area, authorities said. Investigators had no suspects or motive in the slaying, and they had not identified the victim, Ellis said.

In Saturday’s second homicide, the county’s ninth of the year, Corteza W. Livingston, 21, was shot to death and his 24-year-old brother wounded in the 3100 block of Dynasty Drive in Forestville just after 9 p.m.

The incident apparently stemmed from a domestic dispute that occurred while the mother of the 24-year-old’s child was dropping off the son at his father’s home, Ellis said. He said there was an argument between Livingston and one of the people who came to the home with the mother. Someone from that group opened fire on Livingston and the 24-year-old.

The 24-year-old, whom police did not identify because he is a witness, was shot in the leg, Ellis said. He said investigators were working to identify who was with the mother.

“I think what we’re seeing is, the motive tends to be there either is a drug nexus or some type of dispute going between the suspect and the victim,” Ellis said. “The thought is it’s just really bad timing to have them all together at the beginning of the year.”

Based on calls for service statistics through Sunday, overall crime is up by about 2 percent – although Ellis said it is too soon to draw any conclusions.

There have been 146 incidents of violent crime, compared with 116 incidents at the same time last year, Ellis said. The increase is fueled mainly by increases in robberies and assaults, while property crime is down slightly, Ellis said.

There had been four slayings in Prince George’s at this time last year, authorities said.

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