CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. – Two staff members were fatally shot Friday at a Maryland senior apartment complex just outside Washington, DC, and a suspect has been arrested, police said.
The shooting took place shortly after 9 a.m. at Gateway Village in Capitol Heights, Prince George County and Capitol Heights police said. Both victims were women – one found in a hallway and another in an office, they said.
A resident who identified himself only as Donald said the gunman was his friend and lived in the complex. He said the man was fed up with the way the residents were treated.
“He said to me, ‘Don, nobody stands up for these old people. I can not stand it anymore. I have to do something. And obviously what he chose to do was wrong, but he did something, ”the resident told reporters.
Gateway Village is one of 310 communities in 25 states managed by National Church Residences, which describes itself as “the largest provider of affordable housing and services for seniors in the country.” Its website says the apartment complex about half a mile (0.8 km) east of the District of Columbia includes studios and one-bedroom apartments for “people aged 62 and over. “. A county website describes the property as subsidized public housing for low-income seniors.
National Church Residences spokeswoman Cindy Young said they were “heartbroken” that two staff members were killed.
“We are proud of the heroic and swift actions of our staff to ensure the protection and safety of our residents. Our hearts go out to the families of our two team members who lost their lives in this tragic and unfortunate incident,” said she declared. noted.
Capitol Heights Police Chief Mark Cummings said residents of the facility can come and go without staff checking whether they are carrying a gun.
“It’s an open facility. It is a residence. So they don’t manage the guns or the things that are brought in, ”Cummings said.
Police said the homicide investigation would include all questions about the facility’s management.
Cummings said he was not aware of any significant issues at the complex prior to the shooting.
“We don’t get a lot of calls at this facility. My officers patrol this area a lot. We come in and chat with the residents. So we are not aware of any current situation, ”Cummings said.
The shooter prepared to surrender even before the police arrived, Donald said, lying flat with his arms outstretched in a hallway, the gun pushed about six feet (two meters) from him. He said his friend told him to tell the police that he was not a threat and that he knew he would be taken away.
Prince Georges County Deputy Chief Lakina S. Webster said the suspect was arrested without incident.
County manager Angela D. Alsobrooks said the priority now was to take care of the facility’s 89 or so residents, making sure they have medicine and food after many have been evacuated.
“We are absolutely devastated by the loss of life today and, if you think about it, by the depravity. There is no good explanation as to why this kind of event happens over and over again, ”Alsobrooks said.