BY SUSIE CURRIE — On June 30, an early-evening brawl at University Town Center left one man dead and four others injured.
Responding to reports of a fight, Hyattsville City Police arrived on the scene at around 6:30 p.m. to find that Leonard Raynod Smith-Matthews, 21, had been stabbed. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, becoming Prince George’s County’s 60th homicide victim of the year.
Homicide investigations are handled by the county police force, which at press time had not released information on suspects, motives or the identities of the others who were injured. They may have also been stabbed – witnesses later described seeing three trails of blood – but were expected to make a full recovery.
Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland said, “The City’s police department has maintained a significant and visible police presence at University Town Center, including a satellite office. Prince George’s County police and the Prince George’s County sheriff are also regularly on site. We believe this was an isolated incident.”
Police cordoned off the area around the Regal Royale 14 movie theater as part of the investigation. The next day, a somber group of Smith-Matthews’ friends gathered at the scene in various states of disbelief.
A 2008 graduate of Northwestern High School, the Riverdale Park native was a rapper also known as Damion Matthews. Hundreds of mourners packed the July 8 funeral services at First Baptist Church in North Brentwood.
Hyattsville police have scheduled a community meeting on crime and safety issues on Wednesday, July 20 at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church, 6201 Belcrest Road. All are invited to attend.