- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2001

Philadelphia police yesterday said they arrested a suspect in the fatal shooting of a D.C. Metro Transit police officer this week, and recovered the slain officers firearm from a car the man was driving.
Homicide detectives "have a suspect theyre questioning in reference to the shooting that occurred" in the District on Sunday night, said Sgt. Roland Lee, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department.
A fare evader shot Metro Transit Police Officer Marlon Francisco Morales in the back of the head on Sunday night at the Green Line U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo station. The killer took the officers gun and ammo clips and has been on the run since.
Officer Morales died from his injuries early Wednesday. A reward for information leading to the killers arrest and indictment rose to more than $128,000 yesterday.
Officers initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle in the Olney section of Philadelphia and took a man into custody after a brief struggle, Sgt. Lee said.
Sgt. Lee said officers observed a semiautomatic handgun in the car and recovered it when they made the arrest in the 35th police district in the northern part of the city. The exact charges against the suspect being held in custody could not be determined.
The serial number on the handgun matched that of Officer Morales missing firearm. "It was the officers gun," a source said.
The man was transported to the homicide unit, where he was held until D.C. police detectives arrived later last night.
D.C. police officials said publicly last night that the man in custody has information that could be useful to the investigation.
"Were just going up to see if this guy has any information in reference to the homicide of the Metro Transit officer," said Officer Kervin Johnson, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department. "He may have useful information."
One source cautioned that the killer may not have kept the slain officers gun due to the risk of being caught with it. The man arrested yesterday may have bought it or found it, the source said.
The arrest of the unidentified man in Philadelphia last night is the first big break in the investigation of the first murder of a transit officer since 1993, when Officer Harry Davis, an 11-year veteran was killed during a traffic stop.
Police said the turnstile jumper was confronted by Officer Morales at about 9:13 p.m. Sunday after the station manager saw the man push his way through the turnstile. After a brief conversation, the man shot Officer Morales in the back of the head.
The killer is described as armed and dangerous and possibly connected to other violent crimes.
Investigators believe the shooter stole Officer Morales 9mm SIG Sauer handgun and two ammunition magazines, then fled. He ran through a crowd and out onto 10th Street, police said.
There were conflicting reports about whether Officer Morales was shot with the weapon issued to transit police or the killers gun. However, early indications from ballistics tests are that the gun that was fired did not belong to Officer Morales, a police source said.
The station manager saw the incident and has provided an "excellent" composite sketch of the man who killed Officer Morales, said Transit Police Chief Barry J. McDevitt.
He was described as a clean-shaven, short-haired black male, 25 to 30 years old, 6 feet tall, with a slim build and light complexion. At the time of the incident, the shooter was wearing a blue hockey jersey, brown shorts, and white-and-blue high-top tennis shoes, and he carried a black backpack.
Earlier yesterday the Metro board of directors had added $100,000 to the reward being offered for the arrest of the killer, as agency officials sought ways to increase security at the regions 83 subway stations. The total reward now stands at $128,000.
Both transit and D.C. police officials predicted that the increase in reward money would bring in a tip leading to the killers capture.
"The person responsible is out there somewhere, and there are people who know who he is and what he has done," board Chairman Decatur W. Trotter said.
The lack of a videotape of the incident has prompted Chief McDevitt and board members to look into the possibility of making some of the 14 or so monitoring cameras inside the transit agencys subway stations capable of recording.
"We were looking at that technology," Chief McDevitt said, well before the slaying of one of his officers. But now, the chief and others will be closely looking at ways to introduce new technologies at the stations.
Chief McDevitt noted, however, that there was very little crime at the U Street station and that a camera still might not have caught the shooter on tape. Cameras arent positioned over the turnstiles, he said, since the kiosk where a station manager sits has a 360-degree view.
Officer Morales, a Persian Gulf war veteran and former officer with the Illinois State Police, leaves behind a wife, Jennifer; two sons, Jeremy, 11, and Joshua, 8; and a 3-week-old daughter, Meghan. The Guatemalan native came to the United States with his parents when he was 15, became a citizen in 1993, and served in the U.S. Army from 1988 to 1992.
A fund for the family has been set up and donations may be mailed to Metro, 600 Fifth St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.
A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the St. Louis Catholic Church, at 2907 Popkins Lane in Alexandria. Officer Morales will be buried at Quantico National Cemetery.
Anyone with information regarding the case should call the D.C. police department at 202/673-6914; the Metro Transit Police criminal investigation team at 202/962-1792; or CrimeSolvers at 800/673-2777.

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