In wake of fatal shooting, police step up patrols at Lakeforest transit center in Gaithersburg
Recent shooting latest reported violence in bus hub area
A wreath, votive candles, empty liquor bottles and porcelain knickknacks mark the spot where a man was fatally shot last week at the Lakeforest Transit Center.
Travis Duane Wright, 19, Gaithersburg, is charged with first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Marlon Antonio Tinnon on July 17. Police said the two men knew each other and argued before the fatal shot was fired, but will not specify how they knew each other or what the argument was about.
Montgomery County Police spokesman Cpl. Dan Friz said Tinnon, 23, was the first person shot to death at the busy transit center. There have been three other homicides at or near the transit center since 2006.
Ronald Antoine, 18, of Gaithersburg pleaded guilty in April of 2008 to second-degree murder in the death of Robert Troy Jackson Jr., 21, of Germantown, at the transit center. Antoine stabbed Jackson in November of 2007.
Like Wright, Antoine argued with his victim before killing him.
Two other fatal stabbings have occurred within the last four near the transit center, Friz said. One was at the JC Penny at the Lakeforest mall on Nov. 2, 2006 and the other was near Goshen Road and Odendhal Avenue across from the transit center on June 6, 2008.
County police have been called to the transit center at 9650 Lost Knife Road 73 times from January through July 22 of this year, according to police records. In 2009, county police were called to the station 105 times and 116 times in 2008. Most of those calls were for disorderly conduct, assaults and suspicious people lurking around, Friz said.
Waiting for a bus the afternoon of July 21, Leatrice Simmons, 22, of Gaithersburg, said she often sees arguments at the transit center and occasionally a fight breaks out. Simmons, who catches the bus there regularly, said problems seem to increase when county schools let out for the summer.
"It's always crowded over here but when it's hot, that's when it's worse," she said. "I try to catch the bus away from the station when I can."
Christine Beatty, 51, of Germantown, discussed the shooting with others waiting for buses July 21.
"These kids don't have a clue about life," Beatty said. "All the fighting, arguing and disrespect for the people standing around the bus stop is uncalled for."
Capt. Willie Parker-Loan, commander of the 6th District in Montgomery Village, which covers the bus station, said patrols in the area were increased immediately after last week's shooting.
His officers patrol the station regularly with assistance from the Gaithersburg City Police, Parker-Loan said, and police also rely on video surveillance cameras.
Parker-Loan would not say if video cameras helped police nab Wright, but did say that the shooting was not a random act of violence.
County spokeswoman Esther Bowring said the cameras were installed at the station in March 2009.
"Of course the mall is a place where kids hang out and congregate and that crowd often travels to the transit center," Parker-Loan said. "This latest incident seems isolated because (the shooter and the victim) knew each other."
Beatty said the police have their hands full with the rowdy crowds at the transit center. She hopes the shooting is not an indication of more violence to come this summer.
"These kids don't have any home training," Beatty said. "The cops shouldn't have to be blamed for others' bad parenting."