A manhunt is under way to find and arrest the alleged killer of an Upper Marlboro man authorities said “executed” his stepfather, a Washington, D.C., police officer, over an argument concerning yard work — and Prince George’s police say the shooting was entirely captured on surveillance video.
Antwan Rayvon James, 27, of the 6700 block of Green Moss Drive in Upper Marlboro, is wanted for the first-degree murder in the execution-style killing of Joseph Burrough Newell, 46, a 24-year veteran detective with the Metropolitan Police Department.
According to Prince George’s Assistant Police Chief Kevin Davis and charging documents, Newell asked James to do yard work when he returned from a grocery store around 8 p.m. Monday. Charging documents state that moments later James approached Newell who was changing a light bulb outside the garage and shot him once in the back then “stood over top of him and fired several rounds into his body,” Davis said Tuesday.
“It was an execution,” he said. “[Newell] asked his 27-year-old stepson to simply give him a hand with some yard work. The shooter in this case, the stepson, James, didn’t like that and shot and killed his stepfather.”
Newell was pronounced dead on the scene, according to county police who said the murder weapon was not Newell’s service firearm.
Davis said the “tragic and senseless” incident happened on their driveway near the garage door and was entirely captured from a neighbor’s surveillance cameras. He said that footage is not being released to the public and will be evidence in an upcoming murder trial if James is captured.
James, who had been living at the Upper Marlboro home with his two younger brothers and two younger sisters, is a former employee with the Washington, D.C., Fire and EMS Department, but was fired within the past year and a half for unknown reasons, said Davis.
According to charging documents, James’ mother was home at the time of the shooting and was the first to discover Newell on the ground outside after hearing multiple gunshots. Newell’s wife could not be reached for comment and the home phone number’s answering machine says the family is not accepting calls.
Calls to D.C.’s fire department were not returned Tuesday.
Apart from James’ open warrant for first-degree murder, Davis said James has another open warrant for a March 16 assault.
During the night of the killing, police said they first believed James may have still been inside the home when police arrived, due to an account from a medic on scene. A barrier situation was established, but officers later determined what the medic saw was just swaying curtains from an osculating fan, according to police.
Authorities are using helicopters and K9 teams to search for James in the largely wooded area of greater Upper Marlboro and now believe he may be farther away from the scene, but still within the county.
“We assume he is still armed and believe one or more people in the community know where James is right now and we need their help,” Davis said. “We need to get James off the street.”
The now-deceased officer’s home is in the Avalon gated community of large single-family homes and rarely is subject to crimes of violence, according to residents who said they were shaken up by news of the incident.
“We were like, ‘What?’ We didn’t believe it. Everybody has been really nice since moving in so it’s like kind of shocking,” said Mary McKinzie, 45, who moved into the community about a year and a half ago. “It’s a really nice neighborhood so this is really sad.”
MPD Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said he knew Newell very well as the two used to play basketball together. He said Newell was a detective who investigated assaults with dangerous weapons cases.
“He was an excellent detective and a good friend,” said Newsham, during a press conference Tuesday. “He was a father, a husband, a son and there were a lot of people from MPD that were out on scene last night that were upset by this.”