PSA: Mount Rainier police seek help suspects in fatal shooting, hit and run

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Mount Rainier Police Department.

In a screenshot from a video provided by Mount Rainier police, a woman, carrying a small child, crosses 34th Street in Mount Rainier just before the driver of the gold SUV pictured hits them. The driver fled after the incident. Police are searching for them.

Mount Rainier City Police Department is asking for anyone with information on two separate incidents — a shooting that left one dead and a hit-and-run that critically injured a woman and her child — that occurred over the past week.

On July 11, 2019, Mount Rainier Police Department officials provided the following information about the shooting on Facebook:

“Our city has experienced an increase in firearm related violence over the last 3 months. In May we experienced three incidents related to shots being fired in the area of 35th and Bunker Hill. On July 10 a resident from Glendale was shot at 37th and Shepard and died as his friend drove him to a D.C. hospital. In both instances the shooters have walked into our city from a neighboring community. The suspect in the homicide has been identified and MRPD and PG County’s Homicide Unit are working tirelessly to locate and arrest him. In both instances the victim and suspect knew each other. While both these incidents are isolated, we will remain vigilant to address drug trafficking within our city. As we deploy additional resources we need the community to call when they observe criminal activity. We will use overt and covert patrols to address criminals misconduct. We need the community, who are the eyes and ears to call and let us know when they see something. Working together we can make criminals think twice about bringing violence into our city.”

Mount Rainier Police Department Facebook post

Also July 11, 2019, Mount Rainier Police Department shared details of a hit-and-run that occurred on 34th Street, near the town’s Route 1 corridor. Police seek the public’s help to identify the driver. The car is a gold SUV with Virginia license plates tagged VEK-4755. According to the Twitter account HowsMyDrivingDC, the car registered to that license plate has $600 in outstanding tickets in the District of Columbia, including one for driving 16-20 miles per hour over the speed limit.

According to police, a woman was crossing the two-lane roadway while carrying her young child when the driver of an SUV sped into her. The victims were well within the roadway when hit. While police noted the victims were not in the crosswalk, MRPD Lt. Paul Simms, in a video detailing the incident (embedded above), hypothesized the primary cause to be distracted driving. Surveillance video of the incident, included in Simms’ video, shows the vehicle accelerating continuously through the intersection of Bunker Hill and 34th Street. Brake lights on the SUV don’t come on until milliseconds before the driver hit the victims.

166 pedestrians have been killed by motorists in Prince George’s County since 2010, according to data from the Prince George’s County Police Department.

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