5 men arrested in slaying of Prince George's student over shoes

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Local,Maryland,Crime,Naomi Jagoda,Eric P. Newcomer,Prince Georges County

Five men have been arrested in Monday's slaying of a 15-year-old Suitland High School freshman, police said Wednesday.

The men charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charles Walker Jr., who was fatally shot during an attempted robbery of a pair of shoes, were 20-year-old Derryck Antonio Green, of Alexandria, 18-year-old Jermani Maurice Whitner, of Temple Hills, 23-year-old Glenn Cornell Leach, of Southeast D.C., 21-year-old Tayvon Delonte Williams, of Oxon Hills, and 21-year-old Kevin J. Smith, of Temple Hills.

All five have admitted to their involvement in the incident, Prince George's County police said. Police said they are not aware of gang ties to the men. Investigators are working to determine which one was the triggerman.

The arrests follow consecutive days of tragedy for the Suitland High School community. The day after learning Walter, a freshman, was killed over a pair of shoes, the school community learned late Tuesday that another freshman had been killed.

That freshman, 18-year-old Aaron Burrell Kidd, was discovered by police at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday in a parking lot along with 18-year-old Andre Walter Shuford. Both were rushed to the hospital. Kidd, of District Heights, was pronounced dead Tuesday. Shuford, from Forestville, died Wednesday.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker announced Wednesday that he will put together a group of leaders from law enforcement, schools and other agencies to determine how the county government can tackle the issue of youth violence. He also said he wants religious leaders, nonprofits, civic organizations and citizens to help address the problem.

"We must work together to break this chain of violent behavior that our young people are resorting to," Baker said.

The slayings of two students in two days left the Suitland High community in a state of continuous mourning. Churches opened their doors to students, and grief counselors met with them.

"Both deaths are having a great impact on the school and our community," said Suitland PTSA President Venus Drummond.

Police believe the slayings on Monday and Tuesday were unrelated, but together they bring the number of Prince George's County students killed to six this school year.

"It all started with the young lady who went to [Charles] Flowers High School, and it's just gotten progressively worse," said that school's principal, Gorman Brown.

Candice Austin, an aunt of Kidd, said he had dropped out of a high school in Forestville in 2011, did Jobs Corps training in Baltimore to become a barber, then started at Suitland High for the 2012-2013 school year. At Suitland, he was in a program for students with learning disabilities.

"He wanted to get his diploma," Austin said, and still intended to become a barber.

Brown's advice for the anguished Suitland community: "You have to wrap your arms around your children and your staff and just inform them that they have to continue," he said. "They have to continue to attempt to excel in spite of the circumstances and use this tragedy as fodder to a commitment to community improvement and social justice."

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

enewcomer@washingtonexaminer.com

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