- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 8, 2005

Five murders have already occurred in Prince George’s County this year, a problem County Executive Jack B. Johnson will likely have to address at a public forum tomorrow night.

The most recent murder happened early yesterday in Oxon Hill in the 5200 block of Indian Head Highway outside a Chinese food carryout restaurant. Police arrived at about 1 a.m. to find an unidentified male on the sidewalk with multiple gunshot wounds. The victim, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have no motive or suspects.

The shooting capped a violent start to the new year in the county, in which five persons were fatally shot within five days.

Mr. Johnson will host the forum at Prince George’s Community College at 6:30 p.m. to discuss his first two years in office and plans for the county.

After nine killings in one week in August, Mr. Johnson called the homicide pace an “aberration” and said he was optimistic that last year’s homicide total would be less than in 2003.

The number of homicides in the county last year was 148, compared to 128 in 2003.

James Keary, spokesman for Mr. Johnson, declined to comment yesterday on the homicides and referred questions to the county police department.

The county’s nine council members could not be reached yesterday at their offices.

Residents and community leaders have already voiced their concerns about Prince George’s increasing homicide rate.

About 100 residents, community leaders and politicians met last October at thecommunity college for a symposium on finding alternatives to juvenile violence, gangs and drug abuse.

Glenn F. Ivey, state’s attorney for Prince George’s County, and Suitland resident Joe Brown were among those who attended.

“I’d like to see the number of murders go down in the community,” Mr. Brown, 32, said at the symposium. “I want the kids to see tomorrow.”

The first homicide of 2005 happened Monday at approximately 9:02 a.m. Police responding to the 4700 block of Hudson Avenue on the report of a shooting found Shawn Omega Chambers, 24, of Suitland on the sidewalk with multiple gunshot wounds.

He was transported to Malcolm Grow Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. There are no suspects and a motive has not been determined.

In Clinton late Tuesday night, Alexander Collins Barnett, 17, of Clinton, and his brother were shot while sitting in a car in the parking lot of a video store in the 7700 block of Old Branch Avenue, police said. Someone approached them, an argument ensued and shots were fired.

Alexander died at the scene. His brother’s injuries are not life-threatening.

A suspect was taken into custody in the case and charged with first-degree murder.

On Thursday night, Tyrone Jackson, 20, of Oxon Hill, was found dead in the 5000 block of Indian Head Highway.

Police said Mr. Jackson may have been shot by two suspects who fled the scene on foot. Investigators have no motive or description of the suspects.

Early Friday in Mount Rainier, officers responding to a report of gunshots about 5 a.m. found a man lying in the road in the 3800 block of Quincy Street. The adult male victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said there are no suspects and a motive has not been determined.

Most of the killings have occurred in neighborhoods that border the District, where last year’s homicide totals reached a 20-year low.

The District reported 198 murders last year, the first time the yearly total was below 200 since 1987.

The Metropolitan Police Department had reported two homicide in the District as of yesterday. The number was fourat this time in 2004.

Mr. Johnson and Prince George’s County Police Chief Melvin C. High have said the population changes in the District play a role in the crime increases.

They have said lower-income District residents are being forced into the county by developers and others converting once-affordable properties into expensive condominiums, town houses and other projects. Mr. Ivey has said the county’s gang problem is similar to the District’s.

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