The 19-year-old brother of San Francisco 49ers star Vernon Davis was arrested Thursday night in connection with an assault that D.C. police believe could be linked to three other violent attacks in the Petworth neighborhood, including a fatal assault on a tourist.
Michael Davis was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated assault in connection with an attack that left a young woman with a serious head wound Thursday night, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Friday. Investigators believe a hammer was used to strike the woman.
Police and evidence technicians on Friday searched the Northwest D.C. home where Mr. Davis, the younger brother of the NFL tight end, lived with his grandmother.
Neighbors and family members, who gathered on nearby street corners watching police come and go, were in disbelief that the quiet young man could be behind the attacks. Among them was "Duke," the father of Vernon and stepfather of Michael, who declined to comment. Others, who declined to give their names because of their close relationships with the family, said Michael Davis was quiet and didn't have the temperament to hurt anyone.
One woman, who several people in the neighborhood identified as Michael Davis' mother, sat in the passenger seat of an SUV around the corner from the home and said "Mike" might have forgotten to "take his shot." Later, while getting into a different car further up the block, the woman yelled, "My son didn't kill no one."
Vernon Davis, a D.C. native who attended the University of Maryland, issued a tweet early Friday morning in which he wrote, "Just got a disturbing call from back home in washington dc. A good day gone bad! Hopefully he wasn't involved!"
As of Friday, police said Michael Davis had only been charged with assault in the Thursday night attack but confirmed they are looking into whether he is responsible for three other similar attacks in which victims suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
"At this time we are continuing to investigate and process evidence to determine if this case may be linked to the prior three cases that occurred in the Petworth neighborhood over the past 72 hours," Chief Lanier said.
In the city's juvenile records, the only 'Michael Davis' on file is listed as age 19 and had been picked up for habitual truancy in July 2008, according to the office of council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat who oversees the city's juvenile justice agency.
Mr. Davis is expected to be arraigned in D.C. Superior Court on Saturday.
Police arrested Mr. Davis Thursday night as undercover officers patrolled the Petworth neighborhood in response to the series of attacks, which all occurred within a 10-block radius of one another.
Around 9 p.m., officers heard a woman screaming and found her on the ground in the 800 block of Gallatin Street in Northwest. A short distance away a man stood in an alley holding a dark bag. As officers approached him, the man ran and dropped the backpack but was stopped a few blocks away.
"Recovered from the bag that was discarded by the suspect in this case was a claw hammer that is believed to be the weapon involved in this assault," Chief Lanier said.
Among the police officers at Mr. Davis' home, in the 900 block of Emerson Street in Northwest, on Friday was the commander of MPD's homicide branch. Lt. Robert Alder said investigators are looking into whether the hammer recovered was the same weapon used to attack the three other victims.
In an attack Tuesday night, Gary Dederichs, 66, of Denver was found dead in an alley in the 800 block of Emerson Street Northwest. Less than 12 hours later, a 53-year-old man was found in the roadway in the nearby 4800 block of Georgia Avenue Northwest with severe trauma to the back of his head. He remains hospitalized in critical condition.
On Wednesday night, a 37-year-old woman was hit from behind as she was walking in the 5600 block of 9th Street Northwest.
"I am relieved that MPD has made an arrest in these terrifying crimes," said D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser, who represents the area where the attacks took place. "Petworth can take comfort, today, that their neighborhood is secure. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."
• Tom Howell Jr. and Jeffrey Anderson contributed to this report
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