Task force chief details Daron Wint arrest

WASHINGTON — The head of the task force that arrested the suspect in a quadruple homicide in the District says the operation to arrest Daron Wint ranged from D.C. to New York and back over “a very exhausting couple of days.”

Robert Fernandez, of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, says that after Wint was identified Wednesday as the suspect in the killing of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper last week, he headed to New York. Wint’s girlfriend was reportedly questioned there, and investigators also searched for him at several places in Prince George’s County.

“We barely missed him” in New York, Fernandez tells CBS News’ Barry Bagnato.

Officers from the New York counterpart to the task force went to an address in New York that Fernandez’ crew gave them, but that Wint had fled.

“We believe that he saw himself on the news” soon after he was identified, Fernandez surmises.

The task force soon figured out Wint might be headed back to the D.C. area, and a combination of interviews, surveillance and database searches traced him to a Howard Johnson on U.S. 1 in College Park. Officers from the task force were heading to the hotel, Fernandez says, and had to work out what hotel room he was in. An advance team at the hotel, however, figured out Wint was more than likely in one of two vehicles — a sedan and a box truck — that were leaving the hotel and heading north on U.S. 1.

They followed for a few miles, Fernandez says, trying to determine which vehicle Wint was in.

“We didn’t want to have a vehicle chase, or take down the wrong vehicle,” Fernandez says.

At one point, the two vehicles did “kind of a strange U-turn through a neighborhood and a parking lot,” which led the officers to fear that Wint and the people with him had realized that they were being followed.

Heading south on U.S. 1, they planned to pull over both vehicles, and called a task force member on the Prince George’s County police force, asking for a helicopter.

“We didn’t know how they were going to react” when pulled over, Fernandez says. It was overhead in five minutes.

They followed the two vehicles into Washington, pinned and stopped both vehicles and arrested Wint, two women and another man in the sedan, and two men in the truck. Fernandez told the Associated Press that Wint was “stoic” upon being arrested, and that all six people surrendered without a fight.

They turned them all over to the D.C. police immediately. Fernandez tells Bagnato that he’s not aware of any weapons being in either vehicle.

Fernandez praises the 50 to 60 officers involved in the search for Wint, saying that many task force members didn’t go home between the identification and the arrest; one of his detectives fell asleep at his desk while poring over data, Fernandez says.

“I was just in awe at the ability of these people to gather data, make connections, draw conclusions and make predictions,” Fernandez says.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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