Feb. 25 meeting on crime was attended by 8 police chiefs from Takoma Park and surrounding jurisdictions.
BY MIKE PERSLEY
On Thursday, Takoma Park police arrested Quinton Andro Battle, 17, of Suitland, who they say was involved in a recent high-profile armed robbery and a carjacking near Sycamore Avenue that led to last week’s public meeting between police chiefs from eight surrounding metropolitan area police forces.
Battle was arrested at his home in the early morning after Takoma Park detectives, using information they received from the Washington Metropolitan Police Department about an incident that occurred nearly three weeks earlier, were able to link him to the crimes.
On February 8, shortly after 8 p.m., metropolitan police responded to an armed robbery on Lamont Avenue in Washington that involved Battle and another person. The two fled by car as the police were arriving and were later caught after being seen in an alley nearly a block from where they abandoned their car at the 5900 block of 2nd Avenue NW.
After a short chase, Battle was found hiding underneath a nearby home. Because of his juvenile status, he was charged with trespassing on private property and quickly let go. Police were, however, able to link their vehicle to the recent carjacking of Char Serwa which occurred on January 24 on Sycamore Avenue.
Serwa, after arriving home from work, was approached by a man with a gun demanding her purse, keys, and phone.
After she complied, the man drove away from the scene in her car.
An overflow-crowd of city residents, including victims of the crimes Battle is accused of committing, attended the Feb. 25 crime meeting.
The robbery was one of several that have occurred near Sycamore Avenue in recent months, and hers was the one that finally drew an outcry from residents of the neighborhood.
A group of about 15 residents came together to pressure city officials to provide more resources for the police department. They co-wrote a brief report that aired their grievances and offered tactical advice on how the police department could lower crime in the city.
Their commotion led Montgomery County Comptroller Peter Franchot to organize a meeting last week between regional police chiefs where they promised continued cooperation across jurisdictions to help solve crimes.
“I am now suspicious of every person in every vehicle that comes near me, and this is no way to live,” Serwa told the police panel at the meeting. “If we all start acting like getting a gun put in your face is normal, then we might as well give up.”
The arrest is a sign of progress toward helping Takoma Park residents feel safe in their city again, according to police.
Jen Ujifusa, who was the victim of a January 11 armed robbery that Battle is believed to have committed, says she’s happy to see arrests being made.
“It’s good to see progress,” she says. “Of course I’m happy about that.”