Prince George’s County police continue to look for the culprit responsible for the slaying of U.S. Postal Service carrier Tyson Barnette as they investigate at least two other fatal shootings that occurred in the last two weeks.
The slayings brought to 52 the number of people murdered in the county this year, a 10 percent drop from last year. At the same time last year, 58 people had been killed. The total homicides for 2012 was 64, the lowest number reported since the mid 1980s, according to Lt. William Alexander.
He said while the numbers are significantly lower for homicides than in past years, police know that for the families who have lost loved ones, any number of killings is too many.
“Obviously we think we made some pretty good strides in bringing down overall crime numbers,” he said. “If you look at the cumulative crime numbers in the last three years…crime overall is down more than 30 percent. At the end of last year we held a press conference about homicides. While we were not jumping up and down about the numbers, it was the lowest number of homicides since the mid 1980s.”
There were 96 killings reported in 1987 at the beginning of the crack epidemic. The number of homicides stayed above that “for a good number of years,” he said.
Officers returned to the location in the 1600 block of Reed Street in Landover Nov. 30 where Barnette, 26, of Upper Marlboro, was fatally shot seven days earlier about 7 p.m. while on duty delivering mail. He died at the scene.
Police passed out fliers and talked to residents. It was second time they had returned en masse to the shooting scene. On Nov. 25, two days after Barnette’s death, they also combed the area. Barnette, who had been the postal service for six years, was the third postal worker killed on the job in violence in recent months, postal officials said. The U.S. Postal Service has offered a $100,000 reward in the case, hoping to draw out a witness.
“Hopefully, there’s someone that knows something,” U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Schissler told reporters. “It may not be something that happened right immediately before he was killed or right after he was killed. It may have occurred on another day.”
In another homicide case, Prince George’s County police have arrested two men in the slaying of a Fort Washington man who was fatally shot Dec. 2 at a BP gas station in the 3200 block of Walters Lane in Forestville. Police who responded to a call about 3 a.m. found Dalonte Allen West, 25, dead inside the station.
Police arrested Dominick Payne, 19, of Northeast Washington, near the shooting scene. Alex Michah Marshall, 22, of Southeast Washington, was arrested a day later in D.C. Investigators said they believe robbery was the motive and that the incident was drug related.
Police are looking for the killer who fatally shot Nii Akpeng, 23, of Hyattsville, during a fight at an after party Nov. 29. The incident occurred about 5 a.m. in the 3700 block of West Street.
“Obviously for a crime of this nature, we feel that someone saw something or knows something about the crime,” Alexander said. “We hope that someone will come forward with that small crumb of information that will help us solve this case.”
As police canvassed the scene near Barnette’s killing on Nov. 30, his loved ones gathered at Foundation AME Zion Church in Rock Hill, N.C., for his funeral.
According to an obituary posted online, he is survived by his parents, and several siblings.
According to media reports, Barnette moved to the Washington D.C.-area after graduating from high school in Rock Hill. Relatives told WSOC-TV that they were having a difficult time dealing with Barnette’s death less than a week before Thanksgiving.
"He was a very sweet, respectable young man," his aunt, Mary Roseboro, said.
"He's the type of guy that anyone could love."
A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the Akpeng case. Prince George’s Police are offering up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment in the Barnette killing, taking the total reward to $125,000 in the case.
Anyone with information about any of the cases is asked to contact Prince George’s police at 301-772-4925. An anonymous tip can be offered by calling Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).