Prince George's County Police Department charged 63-year-old Roy Batson with first degree murder and related charges in the deadly shooting at the National Church Residences Gateway Village that occurred on Friday.
He is accused of fatally shooting 46-year-old Mackeda Evans and 46-year-old Michelle Boateng of Capitol Heights. Police said they were both pronounced dead at the scene.
The victims were employees of the building, according to management. In addition to working at Gateway Village, Boateng also lived at the facility, police said.
The shooting occurred at the National Church Residences Gateway Village at 505 Suffolk Avenue.
According to a preliminary investigation, Batson had confronted Evans earlier in the morning about a prior dispute between the two over a violation notice. Batson admitted to going to his apartment, retrieving a gun and returning to the first floor office area and shooting both victims, police said.
In a statement on Friday, National Church Residences cited employees’ brave actions to protect residents.
“We are extremely heartbroken by the events that occurred this morning at our affordable housing property Gateway Village, in Capitol Heights, Maryland. We are proud of the heroic and swift actions of our staff to ensure that our residents were protected and kept safe,” the statement said. “Our hearts go out to the families of our two team members who lost their lives in this tragic and unfortunate incident.”
Officers were called to the building at about 9:10 a.m. on Friday. They found one shooting victim in a hallway and another in an office, Capitol Heights Police Chief Mark Cummings said. Capitol Heights officers worked to evacuate residents from the building and called for help from other police departments.
A large number of officers searched and surrounded the building, and police asked people in the area to shelter in place. Nearby Capitol Heights Elementary School was put on lockdown “out of an abundance of caution,” police said.
A resident of the building told News4 he heard a fire alarm and then saw an armed neighbor lying on the floor.
“He came upstairs to his place. When I looked out about the fire alarm, he had come out the house, laid prostrate on the floor, arms stretched out, and [had] a weapon pushed six feet in front of him,” the man said.
A conflict management team responded, Deputy Chief Lakina Webster of the Prince George’s County Police Department said. The man was taken into custody by about 10:25 a.m., police said.
Officers searched the building for any additional victims or suspects. The scene was secured and the school lockdown ended, police said at about 11 a.m.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks expressed horror at the violence.
“We woke up this morning in yet another case of inexplicable grief, and so we want to extend our condolences and prayers to the families of the victims in this case. We are absolutely devastated,” she said.
Several residents told News4 they believed the suspect was upset about conditions at the facility. Police and county officials said that would be part of the investigation.
The Capitol Heights police chief said he wasn't aware of any significant problems at the complex leading up to the shooting.
“We don’t get a lot of calls to this facility. My officers actually patrol that area very much. We go in and talk to the residents. So we’re not aware of any ongoing situations,” Cummings said.
County officials are working on getting the building’s approximately 90 residents back into their homes on Friday and giving them “any support they need,” said Barry Stanton, a public safety official for the county.
The Gateway Village website describes "an affordable rental community for seniors” 62 and older. Gateway Village offers studios and one-bedrooms and is a "secured facility," the site says.
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The Associated Press contributed reporting.