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8 Oct, 2021 19:31

Two killed in shooting at Maryland elderly housing facility; suspect may have been resident angry at ‘treatment of seniors’

Two killed in shooting at Maryland elderly housing facility; suspect may have been resident angry at ‘treatment of seniors’

Two people were shot dead at a senior living home in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC on Friday, leading to a lockdown of a nearby school until police were able to rule out the possibility of additional victims or suspects.

A male suspect was taken into custody after Friday morning’s shooting at the National Church Residences - Gateway Village apartment building in Capitol Heights, Maryland, police said. Police didn’t identify the alleged gunman, but residents told local media outlets that he was a disgruntled tenant.

National Church Residences reportedly issued a statement saying that the two people killed were employees of the facility. “We are proud of the heroic and swift actions of our staff to ensure that our residents were protected and kept safe,” Executive Vice President Michelle Norris said in the statement.

Both victims were female, police said. Gateway Village residents who were able to walk were evacuated from the building, while those in wheelchairs were asked to stay in their apartments. Neighbors in the area were asked to shelter in place, and the nearby Capitol Heights Elementary School was temporarily put on lockdown. Concerned relatives of Gateway Village residents were advised to gather at a local fire station.

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ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV quoted one unidentified male Gateway Village resident as saying that the shooter told him, “Nobody is standing up for the seniors. I can’t take it no more. I have to do something.” The tenant added, “Obviously, what he chose to do was wrong, but he did something.”

Another male Gateway Village tenant, identified only as ‘Donald’, told CBS News affiliate WUSA-TV that the shooter prepared to surrender amid the blare of a fire alarm before police arrived. “He came upstairs to his place, and when I looked out about the fire alarm, he had come out the house, laid prostrate on the floor, arms stretched out and the weapon pushed six feet in front of him.”

Donald added that the neighbor told him to let the police know that “he is no threat, he’s ready, he’s waiting for them. What he had done, he knew he was going away.” The resident said he called police to relay that information, but when they arrived, they pushed him up against the wall and twisted his arm behind him, apparently not realizing that he was the caller, not the suspect.

The shooter was motivated by treatment of the elderly tenants, Donald claimed. “I know what set him off – the way they treat the seniors in Gateway Village,” he said. For example, the resident added, a bathroom on the first floor is kept locked, so tenants can’t use it on the way back to their apartments.

“Older people, even myself, have bladder problems, where we get out of the car and run in the house,” he said. “We might want to stop right there and relieve ourselves. They keep it locked.”

Gateway Village is an affordable housing facility for people aged 62 years and older. It has 89 residents, according to police.

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Capitol Heights is located in Prince George’s County, just east of the nation’s capital. In fact, Gateway Village is only about eight miles from the White House.

Even before Friday’s shooting, Prince George’s County had 100 homicides reported so far this year, exceeding the total for all of 2020. Murders are roughly doubling 2019’s pace, as violent crime in the area has soared amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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