Suspect possibly linked to D.C. attacks, tourist’s murder

WASHINGTON – D.C. police have arrested a 19-year-old man in the beating of a woman Thursday night, and Mayor Vincent Gray says the suspect may be linked to three other attacks, including Tuesday’s murder of a tourist from Denver.

Gray told WTOP that an undercover officer deployed in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest Thursday night heard a woman screaming and found her writhing in pain.

The officer saw a person in an alley and pursued him, and Gray said the suspect — identified as Michael Davis — discarded a backpack that contained a bloody claw hammer. Police said Davis lives in the 900 block of Emerson Street NW, in the same area where all of the attacks occurred.

“The same m.o. as the other three incidents,” Gray said. “He was arrested, and we think obviously we have a suspect.”

Davis has been charged with one count of aggravated assault. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the victim, a 19-year-old woman, suffered a serious head injury and has been hospitalized.

WJLA/ABC7 first reported Davis’ brother is San Francisco 49ers’ tight end Vernon Davis. He tweeted this morning:

Vernon Davis attended Dunbar High School in D.C. and played football for the University of Maryland Terrapins.

Lanier said officers are still investigating whether the arrest is linked to three other attacks, including the murder of 66-year-old Gary Dederichs. Dederichs was a retired nurse from Denver who had rented a room in Petworth while on a two-week sightseeing tour, according to investigators. He was found unconscious Tuesday afternoon in the 800 block of Emerson Street in Northwest.

“At this time we are continuing to investigate and process evidence to determine if this case may be linked to the prior three cases that occurred in the Petworth neighborhood over the past 72 hours,” Lanier said.

The other two victims were a 53-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman. They both suffered serious injuries to the head and were hospitalized. The male victim was found in the 4800 block of Georgia Avenue early Wednesday morning, and the woman was found later that night in the 5600 block of 9th Street NW.

Gray said he did not want to conclude that there was a pattern to the attacks, but said Davis appears to be mentally ill.

Check out this map of the incidents:

View Petworth Assaults in a larger map

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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