WASHINGTON — The Anne Arundel County police said that three bodies have been discovered in the county, that the deaths are gang-related, and multiple suspects have been arrested in the deaths.
Other than that, Chief Timothy Altomare said at a Friday afternoon news conference that there aren’t many details he can release.
But he implored residents to come forward with any information they may have on the deaths, and about gang activity in the county in general.
“From the bottom of my heart,” Altomare said, “If you’re in fear, if you think a gang wants to hurt you, I’m begging you to come and talk to us.” He added, “Your lives matter to us. … We will move heaven and earth to get you the help you need if you need help to stay safe.”
He called on residents to call 911 or the county’s gang tip line at 410-222-4700. And “if you just think you might have a piece of a puzzle that might put a bad guy away before they hurt somebody,” call 410-222-4117.
Those who call those numbers, Altomare said, will be directly linked to an alert system “so it doesn’t sit for 12, 14, 18 hours.” They’ll get a call back from the police and will get “the help you need.”
“We’re gonna spend the money we need,” Altomare said. “… We’ll put you somewhere safe, and we’ll make you safe.”
“If you live in fear, we want to stop it,” Altomare said. “We won’t desert you and we’ll be there for you.” Asked whether people’s immigration status should be a factor in whether they come forward, he said he “could [not] care less about people’s status. It’s not my business; it’s not my job. I’m here to help people stay safe, and that’s what we’re going to do. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.” He added that he has “no idea” whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement have detainers on any of the suspects.
About the lack of details in his briefing, Altomare said, “My reticence is directly related to trying to keep people alive.” He said he would have more details “as soon as I can do it without getting somebody hurt.”
The chief asked residents to be on the lookout for signs of gang activity, even in places where it might not seem likely.
“There is a gang presence in every community in Anne Arundel County,” Altomare said. “For a lot of years, we didn’t talk about it; for a lot of years we were discouraged from talking about it.”
If a resident sees graffiti that might even possibly be gang-related, Altomare said, “Call. I’ve got pros; they’ll come out and look at graffiti and tell you if it’s gang-related. Whether it’s at the Brooklyn line … or in South County. And guys?” he said, addressing reporters. “We have gang graffiti in South County. All the way to the Calvert County line.”
However, “A presence doesn’t mean they’ve taken over,” Altomare declared. “We’re gonna nail it down.”
Editor’s Note: A correction has been made to this story. The police would not say where the bodies were found.