District Heights

District Heights Day Care Shuts Down After Drive-By Shooting, Uptick in Violent Crime

“Two weeks ago on a Monday, and we’re walking up to the day care, and there was a trail of blood in front of the day care,” one mother said. “I had to tell my daughter it was paint"

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Several working parents are finding themselves in a tough spot after a day care in Prince George’s County shut down due to an increase in violent crime.

The owner of SKC Education Center, located in the Penn Station Shopping Center in District Heights, says it’s just too dangerous to keep the doors open following a drive-by shooting in the area. 

Mother Nicole Wellington said for years, she’s been able to breathe easy leaving her 4-year-old daughter at the center. 

“As a working parent, the first thing you want is good quality day care, and part of that quality is someone that is going to care for your child, show them love and affection,” Wellington said.

However, Friday she received a letter from the establishment that left her speechless. 

It said in part: “In light of the recent spike in violent crimes within the shopping center, lack of support from the management company and no visible security presence, we feel that the shopping center is no longer a safe area for our families.”

Wellington, though angry, said she understands the closure, but it means she has until July to find a way to replace the great staff and learning experience her daughter has had so far. 

“[It was] immediate shock and confusion,” she said. “It’s sad that's been the main thing for the owner to feel this was the answer.”

That letter arrived days after a drive-by shooting that injured two children, ages 4 and 14, and killed a dog about a mile away, when gunmen in a dark mini van and car pulled up and opened fire on a crowd. 

But that was just the latest in a spree of violence crime. 

“Two weeks ago on a Monday, and we’re walking up to the day care, and there was a trail of blood in front of the day care,” Wellington said. “I mean, that's just completely unacceptable for that to happen. I had to tell my daughter it was paint.”

Prince George’s County police said in a statement that “officers routinely patrol all shopping centers in the division and will increase those patrols. The safety of all who live and work in Prince George’s County is our top concern.”

The working mom who commutes about an hour each way now has to find a new child care solution by the summer. 

“It’s infuriating, and [the day care is] only going away because of what’s going on in the area. People don’t fully understand your actions affect those around you,” Wellington said. 

SKC Education Center offered no comment on the closure or violence in the area.

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