Elizabeth Ross said she now feels a bit of closure in her son’s killing as Prince George’s police Monday announced an arrest in the slaying of a Central High School student.
Travon Donnell Bennett, of the 6700 block of Amherst Road in Bryans Road, was charged Monday with first degree murder in the killing of Marckel Ross, 18, a Central High School junior who police said was shot and killed in an attempted robbery while walking to school Sept. 11.
Marckel Ross is one of six students killed in Prince George’s County this school year.
“I’m hoping for the maximum time. ... As a mother, this brings some closure just knowing this person is off the street, but I do have to forgive to move forward,” said Elizabeth Ross, 45, Marckel Ross’s mother.
About 6:50 a.m., police responded to a “man down” call on Old Central Avenue in Capitol Heights where they found Marckel Ross fatally shot.
Maj. Michael Straughan, commander of the department’s homicide unit, said detectives are still trying to determine exactly what happened during the shooting, but preliminarily reports show Bennett was attempting to rob Marckel Ross, and the two were involved in a confrontation. He said nothing was taken from Marckel Ross.
Police Chief Mark Magaw said detectives have spent “countless hours” pouring over evidence to solve this “act of senseless violence.”
Bennett became a suspect after detectives began investigating a rash of citizen robberies in the area, police said.
He was arrested for a citizen armed robbery Oct. 31 in Capitol Heights and was linked to Marckel Ross’s killing and multiple other robberies and attempted murders after recovering a .38-caliber revolver, Straughan said,
Ballistic testing showed that handgun recovered from the Oct. 31 robbery was the same gun used to kill Marckel Ross, Straughan said.
Clayton Aarons, an attorney representing Bennett in the other citizen robbery cases, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Straughan said two other men are suspected in the Oct. 31 robbery, and their charges and potential involvement in other cases still are being determined.
Sources with knowledge of the investigation said it is believed the handgun used in the Ross killing and Oct. 31 robbery was a “community gun,” meaning it was passed around to different suspects to use for a variety of different crimes in the area so the gun could be tied to a number of individuals.
Prince George’s State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks thanked the police department for their work in closing the case.
“We won’t stop here,” she said. “It will not be tolerated. We will protect the vulnerable in our community.”
Police have now made arrests in four of the six student slayings, and Magaw said he expects the other two cases to close soon as detectives finish working leads.
“The message here is that no matter how long it takes, we will find you,” Magaw said.
The outstanding cases are the murder of Amber Stanley, 18, a senior at Charles Flowers High School, who was killed Aug. 22 in Kettering, and Aaron Kidd, 18, a freshman at Suitland High School killed Feb. 19 in Forestville.
“There are too many kids losing their lives to robberies and other things. I just don’t know what to think about it,” Elizabeth Ross said. “To the other mothers, they’re not alone. We’re all facing the same grief and pain.”