Police investigate second homicide since June

Police investigate second homicide since June

By Chris Teale (Photo/Chris Teale)

Editor’s note: this article is an updated version of this post from July 2, and appeared in the July 7 print edition of the Times.

Fewer than 500 feet from where Pierre Clark was killed in broad daylight last month, the Parker-Gray neighborhood was forced to grapple with an- other homicide early Saturday.

Saquan Hall, 23, of Alexandria, was shot along the 1000 block of First St., and died from his injuries in a local hospital. Officers responded to the area around 3:33 a.m. July 2 after reports of a shooting. Hall’s slaying came less than a month after Clark was killed June 8 on the 1000 block of Montgomery St.

The APD held a community meeting Wednesday evening after the Times’ print deadline at the Charles Houston Recreation Center to discuss the latest killing and next steps.

In the immediate aftermath, allegations surfaced that the two homicides were connected, including on a page started on the online fundraising website GoFundMe by Hall’s mother, Patrice Hall, to cover funeral expenses.

WUSA9 reported that Clark and Hall knew each other, and that Clark allegedly shot Hall last spring. According to the station, police investigated Hall after Clark’s slaying but never charged him, and Hall’s mother alleged that investigation made others think he was involved.

“This was a vigilante shooting due to misinformation regarding a previous incident that he was never charged [with] nor had anything to do with,” Patrice Hall claimed on the GoFundMe page.

Police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal declined to comment on the investigation and any possible connection between the two killings, except to say that all avenues were being explored.

“We’re looking to see if there’s any connection and we’re investigating the possibility that there is one,” she said.

Nosal also declined to comment on reports that Hall was shot multiple times, as that is deemed to be evidence that will be necessary to convict a suspect. She had no further details on the investigation as of press time.

Hall was a 2011 graduate of T.C. Williams High School, and is listed in the school’s student newspaper Theogony’s June 18, 2011 issue as planning to attend ITT Technical Institute after graduation. He was the father of two small children, and was nicknamed “Turk” by his friends and family.

“As you can imagine, no family is ever prepared to have their loved one taken so suddenly,” Patrice Hall wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Saquan’s family and friends are absolutely heartbroken by this tragedy.”

Hall told WUSA9 that “I’m not okay and I won’t be okay for a long time,” and said such slayings damage more people than the victim.

“It’s sad that they rob children of their fathers and their mothers of their sons and daughters,” she said.

Judy Noritake, president of the nearby Braddock Metro Citizens’ Coalition, said despite the killings, she and many of her neighbors do not feel unsafe in the neighborhood, and that it is unfortunate that so many disagreements seem to escalate into deadly violence.

“It’s not gangs, it’s not drugs, it’s guys who have a beef of some kind,” she said. “I don’t know more details than that, but the question is why are they using guns rather than using their fists or using their words?

“[It’s] not random by any means, and I don’t feel unsafe in my neighborhood and many of the people I talk to don’t either.”

At several previous community meetings, Police Chief Earl Cook has said the police department is continuing to look at ways to engage in more community policing, which has officers get out of their squad cars and walk around neighborhoods and get to know residents. Noritake said she has noticed more of this community policing in the area near Parker-Gray in recent weeks, but that it is not the only solution to pre- venting violence and deaths on the streets.

“Obviously, even with more resources coming — and I think after the first homicide there were more cars and more guys on the street — you can’t stop it,” she said. “Somebody who is compelled to do this will find a way, a place and a time. …If there are some guys with some beefs with each other, how do we as a community help mediate a resolution to that that doesn’t involve guns?”

Noritake said her group plans to present a list of suggestions to City Manager Mark Jinks for what the city and com- munity can do to help the situation. Noritake said among those suggestions will be a proposal to coordinate and synergize city agencies and nonprofits to help those in need, provide more job training and recreational opportunities and to establish a citizens’ task force on gun violence.

“What else can we do?” she asked. “We need to get a lot of smart people in a room and figure it out.”

The slaying was the fourth in Alexandria this year. The first took place in April, when Melaku Abraha was assaulted and robbed on the 200 block of S. Alfred St. and later died of his injuries. In May, Shakeel Baldon, 43, was stabbed on Lincolnia Road and died from his injuries in the hospital. And last month, Clark, 28, was shot on the 1000 block of Montgomery St.

Officials announced April 12 that George McGee II, 22, of Capitol Heights, Md., had been charged in connection with the murder of Abraha. And on June 28, Clarence Terry, 53, of Alexandria, was charged in connection with Baldon’s slaying. Clark’s case remains unsolved.

Police asked anyone with information about this investigation to contact Detective Bikeramjit Gill at 703-746-6751.