- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2012

D.C. police said a man fatally shot this month in Southeast Washington was killed by a 16-year-old boy after the man stumbled upon a robbery in progress – a crime that added to an alarming list of recent robberies citywide that suddenly have turned violent.

Daquan Tinker, 16, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in the Aug. 4 shooting of Terrence Robinson, and police said evidence has linked him to a group of people who committed several other walked past as the robbery was in progress and a boy, later identified by the robbery victim as Mr. Tinker, ran after him. The 48-year-old Robinson apparently tried to run but was shot several times. He made it to the landing of a nearby apartment complex, where he collapsed and died.

The group of robbers took a backpack, wallet, keys and debit card from the first victim before fleeing.

The victim saw the same group of suspects again that day while being dropped off at the Anacostia Metro station by a Metropolitan Police Department officer after reporting the crime.

No one was arrested at that time. Instead, according to police, the roving band of robbers struck again.

On Aug. 21, about a half-mile from the site of the first robbery, a group of three people held up a person at gunpoint, taking the victim’s backpack. Officers were able to catch two of the suspects after being alerted by the victim. They were later identified as Kevin Hines, who is charged with robbery while armed, and Mr. Tinker.

When police searched Mr. Hines’ apartment two days later, Mr. Tinker was there after having just been released from custody. Police found several Metro SmarTrip cards, cellphones, iPods and two empty safes in the bedroom where Mr. Tinker was lying down, court documents state. One of the SmarTrip cards belonged to the victim from the Aug. 4 robbery. A public defender representing Mr. Tinker could not be reached Thursday.

The police department’s 7th District, where the Aug. 4 and Aug. 21 robberies occurred, leads the city in the number of robberies overall this year, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said at a community meeting Tuesday.

Robberies committed there with the use of a gun are up 51 percent this year, with 211 robberies reported as of Sunday, according to preliminary MPD data. Another 282 robberies in which guns were not used also were reported in the police district, a decrease of two from the year before. In the police service area, the smaller subsect of the district that includes the locations of both robberies, there have been 29 robberies with guns, a 123 percent increase over last year’s numbers.

Chief Lanier told residents that robberies are up by 10 percent across the city this year, but she noted that violent attacks — such as an attack during a robbery two weeks ago that left a Capitol Hill man with severe head trauma – have not increased, although awareness of such attacks might have.

As recently as Monday, a Catholic University student was injured during a robbery in Northeast when a man grabbed her by the neck and slammed her head against her vehicle, according to a report by campus public safety. The man stole her cellphone and keys and then entered her car to take cash and her debit card.

Chief Lanier has said that the department is diverting the efforts of its specialized units to address the uptick in robberies across the city, which she attributes to criminals attempting to steal smartphones and other hand-held electronic devices. But police union Chairman Kristopher Baumann said the problem can’t be solved until the department gets more officers on the streets.

“Those areas were understaffed when we had 4,200 police officers,” Mr. Baumann said of the 6th and 7th police districts. “They have suffered the loss of officers just like everybody else. When we start becoming resource-starved, the folks who feel it are the ones in the already high-crime neighborhoods.”

At a meeting Tuesday, Chief Lanier estimated that about 2,900 of the department’s 3,900 officers – including those in the police academy – are on patrols.

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