Suspects ID’d In Potomac Metro Homicide – More Details Emerge
By Larry Janezich
At last night’s community meeting on crime at Liberty Baptist Church, MPD First District Commander Morgan Kane distributed flyers on two suspects who are wanted in connection with the homicide last Sunday night at Potomac Avenue Metro Station. Warrants have been issued for the two 18 year old teens – Xavier Culbreth is wanted for homicide and Jada Smith for armed robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call MPD Homicide Branch at 202 645 9600 or text the tip line at 50411. There is a reward for up to $25,000 for anyone that gives police information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person/people responsible for the killing.
The victim, 40 year old Jamal Ferrell, died Sunday night as the result of stab wounds received on the down escalator at the Potomac Avenue Metro Station where he may have been attempting to flee his pursuers, not realizing that the station was closed. The gate at the bottom of the escalator was locked, the last train having departed at 11:20pm. MPD and Metro Transit Police received a 911 call at 11:42pm. Transit Police responded, and found Ferrell suffering from stab wounds. He was transported to an area hospital and pronounced dead after life-saving efforts failed. Once the case was declared a homicide, MPD took over the investigation.
Kane told some 30 Hill East residents that the killing “rattled you, and it rattled us.” She said it was not clear why the victim was running down into a locked Metro station and that police had information that there may have been an attempted robbery – MPD has video and witnesses.
The victim did not have a local address, and Kane said that there’s nothing to suggest that the assailants knew the victim. She said she could not discuss information about the weapon. Detectives are investigating a motive for the crime.
One attendee said she had heard screaming on Sunday night, but had not called 911, assuming it was kids. Kane told her she should not “beat yourself up over what you could have or should have done.”
That exchange opened up a discussion exposing the tension that exists between residents concerned about over-policing and residents who follow police advice to call 911 when they see something suspicions. One attendee said that the danger is that some people are criminalized more than others – children have been victimized – and “we need to carefully consider what the threshold is for calling 911.”
Another said that residents are told to call 911 and turn over our concerns to the police – “I want to think it’s okay to leave here knowing it’s okay to be wrong and to trust the MPD.” A resident on the other side responded, “I disagree wholeheartedly.”
Kane said that “We have to respond when we get a call. We always try to do it in the most compassionate way. Sometimes we get it right – sometimes we get it wrong.” She said, “Call us and let us figure out what’s going on.”
She said she is anxious to have an eye-to-eye discussion on issues regarding the potential for over-policing, and that she is anxious to find a community partner to identify groups to participate.
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