- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Two homicides in two days have put the number of killings in Montgomery County this year even with the total slayings recorded in all of last year.

An overnight shooting in Germantown that killed James Allen Frazier, 21, was the county’s ninth homicide this year, police said Wednesday. Marc Taylor St. Aubin, 23, who was found in his driveway Monday night, was the eighth victim of 2014.

While the homicide total last year was the lowest in more than a quarter-century, the figure is unusually high for the affluent D.C. suburb so early in the year.

The county, with a population of more than 1 million, has recorded 30 or more homicides three times since 1975. One of those years was 2002, when snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo fatally shot six people in the county. In the past decade, the county’s highest homicide total has been 21, which was recorded in 2005 and 2008.

A police spokesman downplayed the increase so far this year, saying six of the nine homicides involved factors that are difficult to deter.

“Over half of these are family, domestic and/or mental health issues and don’t have anything to do with crime trends or the quality of life in Montgomery County,” Montgomery County Police Department spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said.

Those homicides include the deaths of two children reportedly killed during an exorcism by their mother in Germantown. Also, a Damascus man is accused of killing his 3-year-old adopted son.

In another case, a Montgomery County police officer fatally shot his adult son as the man attacked his mother with a knife. The woman also died from her wounds in what police are classifying as a double homicide.

A killing in January involved 7-Eleven employee Abdul Ghaffar, 63, who was stabbed with a box cutter inside his Gaithersburg store in what police said was an unprovoked assault.

Shaun David King, 36, was charged with first-degree murder in that case.

In the most recent cases, Mr. Fraizer was found with a gunshot wound around 10 p.m. Tuesday in the street at the intersection of Oxbridge Drive and Route 355. He died at a hospital. Police initially released a suspect description in the case but later said they were unable to confirm that description. No arrests have been made.

In the incident Monday night, officers responded to a report of gunfire when they found Mr. St. Aubin lying in the driveway of a Silver Spring home that he rented. The medical examiner’s office ruled that the cause of his death was blunt-force trauma.

Officers were called to the home, in the 15800 block of Laughlin Lane, for a report of gunshots. They later found that another man had been taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound. He remained hospitalized Wednesday, and police would not discuss the relationship between the men.

“I believe the last two are going to be criminally related, not necessarily domestic or mental health issues,” Capt. Starks said.

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