Joshua W. Andrews, 19, and Jamel S. Crawford, 22, who police believe are responsible for at least three execution-style deaths in the county, were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon by Sgt. Chris Schmidt and officers Danny Sbarra and Angel Ortiz, said Schmidt from his Bronx 40th Precinct office.
The men are responsible for the deaths of Clayton K. Breeding, Romanno A. Head and Robert I. Morrison, said Prince William Police Chief Charlie T. Deane at a press conference at the Gar-Field substation Tuesday.
Breeding was gunned down in his car in the parking lot of Rippon Middle School on Dec. 12, while Head and Morrison were killed in their Allerton Court apartment on Jan. 2. Andrews and Crawford are also suspected of shooting a third man at Allerton Court, as well as 50-year-old clerk at the Onville Kwik Stop in Stafford County on Friday.
“These guys were just out of control,” said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney James A. Willett.
The surviving victim of the Allerton shooting has been treated and released from an area hospital, while the Stafford County man remains in critical condition.
“The investigation led us to believe that the three shootings were related,” said Deane, who added that the murders appear to be drug related. “In all of [these] cases, it does appear that the victims offered no resistance, were unarmed and were shot multiple times.”
The proximity of the shootings, similarities in how they happened and a surviving victim’s testimony were all key in piecing the case together, said Lt. John Collier.
“The survivor of the triple [shooting] took a while to come around because he was under sedation,” Collier said. “But once he came around he was really helpful.”
As was cooperation with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, Deane said.
“Our investigation started Friday,” said Stafford County Sheriff Charles E. Jett, who had named Crawford as a suspect earlier on Monday. “When we learned that we had the same suspects, we began to share information.”
After the Jan. 4 shooting, the men fled to New York, and brought their “insatiable appetite for murder” with them, Deane said.
The men, who police said have a history of violent behavior, are also suspected of shooting two people, whose identities were not released, in the face in the Queens borough of New York City on Monday night, Schmidt said.
The first New York shooting occurred while Andrews and Crawford were in the middle of a robbery in Queens, Deane said.
Later that day, the two had apparently been involved in a traffic incident, and while stopped, an individual approached the men and was consequently shot, Deane said.
“One of the ones shot is likely dead, while the other is likely going to be all right,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt said that his department, which had already been alerted by Prince William County to be on the lookout for the Mercury Sable, made the connection between the incidents.
While on patrol Tuesday, Schmidt, Sbarra and Ortiz recognized the car, pulled the men over and arrested them.
“They played it cool,” Schmidt. “They had some marijuana on them, so we’re holding them here on that charge.”
That will be just the beginning of a lengthy judicial process for the two men, who will likely face murder charges both in New York and Virginia, Willett said.
In Prince William County alone, both men face charges on two counts of capital murder, one count of murder, five counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two counts of armed robbery. If convicted of the capital offense, the men could face the death penalty.
They also have been charged with two counts of attempted capital murder, two counts of armed robbery, one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two counts of malicious wounding.
But it will likely be a while before they see the inside of Virginia courtroom, Willett said.
“Usually in a case like this, they get tried by those who are holding [them] first,” Willett said. “But we are planning to use the Rocket Docket (a procedure used in Virginia to expedite court preceedings).”
Willett added that the men would likely not face the death penalty in New York.
At the time of the press conference, Detective Samuel E. Walker, Prince William’s lead investigator in the case, was on his way to New York to interrogate Andrews and Crawford and to meet with city officials, police said.