Police Offer $25,000 Reward in Shooting at Student High-Rise

Man, 19, Killed After Altercation at UTC Apartments in Hyattsville

Police are offering a $25,000 reward for the tip that leads to the arrest and indictment of the suspect in the fatal shooting of a man at an apartment complex in Hyattsville, Md., on Friday afternoon.

Maj. Kevin Davis, the commander of District 1 for the Prince George’s County Police Department, said that the shooting broke out at 2 p.m. Friday on the 10th floor of the West Towers at the University Town Center (UTC) student high-rise. The victim, Donald James Smalls Jr., 19, was shot in the lower region of his body following a dispute with an unknown assailant.

Smalls was rushed to a local hospital where he later succumbed to his injury. Detective Brian Selway is investigating the matter, which is the second shooting in the area in recent weeks. On Feb. 13, a teenager was shot in the arm after a fight at a bus stop for UTC.

Unknown to the leasing office, Smalls was residing with his girlfriend, a student at Howard University, for some years. UTC houses students from a variety of schools in the area, including Howard, the University of Maryland, American University and Prince George’s Community College.

Management officials alerted students about the shooting by distributing notices, posting flyers and sending representatives from door to door. They also invited police to discuss the students’ safety at a forum on Saturday afternoon. A second meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow for those who were unable to attend on Saturday. With round-the-clock patrols, cameras and key cards, security personnel are shocked about how this incident occurred.

“Residents give their key cards to their friends or try to sneak them through the back door and garage,” one guard stated. “We do our best to ensure safety but when students do not adhere to the rules, what can we do?” Cynthia Okai, a junior majoring in international relations at Howard University who lives in the Towers, said security did a good job of informing students of the current incident. Many students heard about last month’s shooting through news reports. Despite the shootings, some UTC residents said they still feel safe and commended management officials for hosting the forums.