East County Residents Want More Police Presence After Murders
Dozens of citizens meet with Montgomery County Police following two homicides.
Residents who packed a meeting with police officers Thursday expressed frustration with crime in East Montgomery County following the killings of two young men in the area.
Jesse Campos, 21,was fatally shot after two gunmen barged into his apartment on July Drive in White Oak Friday, Dec. 7. A roommate and a woman were left in the apartment unhurt, police said. Officers arrived at the scene around 3:45 p.m. and found him dead, according to police.
Police found Christoper White dead on a paved path Monday behind an apartment on Castle Boulevard. Officers responded to a report that gunshots had been heard and arrived around 9:56 p.m. An autopsy revealed that the 22-year-old from Landover died of gunshot wounds.
A woman who said that she has lived in White Oak for 22 years told police Thursday during the meeting at the White Oak Community Recreation Center that she is still waiting on information about a young man who was killed last year in the neighborhood.
"You all haven’t found the people that killed Frankie Amobi, nobody has said anything about that," she said. "No one has found the killer of that person and now you all are saying you’re trying to find the killer of Jesse Campos.
"Y'all haven’t found the killer of the child that got killed in Briggs Chaney about two years ago," she continued, referencing the 2010 beating and shooting of Julian Kelly.
"Every day I come out of my house [...] all I see is officers pulling people over every day—that’s all I see—no questions about Frankie, no questions about Jesse."
Capt. Marcus Jones, director of police's Major Crimes Division, which investigates murders and sexual assaults, said the work that homicide detectives do on murders may not be visible to the public.
"When we are investigating a homicide, it’s not necessarily that you’re going to see the officers that are in uniform walking around asking people, 'Who committed this homicide?'" he explained.
Jones said that detectives work together on all murder cases and don't stop when new case comes in.
"My investigators have leads on that case, we continue to bring in certain witnesses," he said of Amobi, a 24-year-old rapper who was shot last December as he got into his car for work.
Police said witness cooperation is what closes murder cases, something that June Henderson, who has lived in White Oak since 1999, doesn't think police will get.
"People aren’t going to give the police information, they think the police are harassing them," she said after the meeting. "Who wants to be a witness to a crime?
"They fear retaliation, so they’re not going to get the information they need," Henderson said.
She said criminals in her neighborhood are smart and they know when to hide.
"I've noticed the streets are quiet," Henderson continued. "Those that are doing what they shouldn't be doing, they're in the house. They'll say, 'Oh, it's hot out here.' That means the cops are out and they're [criminals] in."
Henderson, like others at the meeting, wanted more police presence in the neighborhood.
Lt. Michael Price, acting commander of the 3rd Police District, which includes downtown Silver Spring, White Oak and the Briggs Chaney area, said the district is trying to up staffing.
More officers have been approved for the district, but some still have to finish police academy and undergo training before they become full-fledged patrol. Capt. Jones said the process can take up to nine months.