- The Washington Times - Monday, January 29, 2007

The Metropolitan Police Department arrested a Silver Spring man yesterday morning in connection with a nightclub shooting in which a teenage girl was killed.

Investigators learned the whereabouts of Jamel Mackabee early yesterday and arrested him without incident in the 11000 block of February Circle, according to the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. Mr. Mackabee, 19, was identified as a suspect almost immediately after the Jan. 20 shooting at the Smarta/Broadway nightclub, in the 1900 block of Ninth Street Northwest.

Mr. Mackabee was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Taleshia Ford, a senior at Booker T. Washington Public Charter School, who went to the club with an older family member to hear a band. She was shot during a scuffle between a bouncer and a man who brought a gun inside the club.

Also yesterday, acting police Chief Cathy L. Lanier implemented several changes in response to a weekend of violence that left four persons dead within five hours.

Chief Lanier said she will add officers to patrols, work to get known violent offenders off the streets and reach out to residents for help as part of a community policing initiative under Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

“As long as I have the flexibility [to do that] without a crime emergency, I’m going to do that,” said Chief Lanier, who on Nov. 20 replaced Chief Charles H. Ramsey. “We have to have a good balance here between community policing, building strong neighborhood communities, then doing … what we have to do to get these people off the street.”

Chief Ramsey initiated a 90-day crime emergency on July 11 in response to an increase in homicides and other violence. He increased patrols, enforced juvenile curfews and deployed cameras in hot spots.

Within the first 13 hours after the crime emergency was announced, the city experienced four shootings, one of which was fatal, and two armed robberies on the Mall, which is patrolled by the U.S. Park Police.

The D.C. Council later extended the crime emergency to November.

At a press conference yesterday with Chief Lanier, Mr. Fenty said, “We are extremely serious about protecting the neighborhoods and bringing criminals to justice. Four homicides in one night in the District of Columbia is unacceptable, and our efforts from Day One have been about protecting the neighborhoods.”

Mr. Fenty, a Democrat, said officers are distributing fliers at the scenes of the weekend homicides to encourage residents to come forward with any information.

The homicide reports started late Saturday.

At about 10:35 p.m., officers found Deon A. Peoples, 29, of Northwest, fatally shot in a stairwell in a building at the 1500 block of Seventh Street Northwest, near the Washington Convention Center.

About 70 minutes later, police in the 800 block of Yuma Street Southeast found Kevin Bradshaw, 41, of Southeast dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

Police said a gunshot detection device helped them reach the crime scene quickly. They would not say whether any of the department’s 48 neighborhood-surveillance cameras captured the killings.

A man was killed with a baseball bat at about 2:45 a.m. Sunday in the 1200 block of 11th Street Northwest after reportedly swinging the weapon at several other men. Herman Melendez, 21, has been charged in connection with the death.

About 25 minutes later, Louis Maurice Bigsby, 23, of Northeast, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in an apartment in the 300 block of 54th Street Northeast.

The deaths bring the number of killings to 15 so far this year in the District.

Chief Lanier ordered the temporary closing of the Smarta/Broadway nightclub, also known as the 1919 Club, after Taleshia’s death.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, scheduled hearings on legislation to bar minors from entering nightclubs where alcohol is served.

The incident began when a women suspected of smoking marijuana was removed from the club. The woman reportedly returned with a man, whose gun fired a bullet into Taleshia’s chest.

“I thought it was a safe club because it was a teen club,” said Taleshia’s father, Oscar Wilson. “But I guess nowhere is safe.”

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