DaQuan Dockery, 22, was fatally shot inside the Mall at Prince George’s in Hyattsville, Md.


Elizabeth Dockery can’t walk past her son’s bedroom door when she goes upstairs.

Seeing the bed, neatly made up as her son always had it before leaving the house, is a painful reminder of the afternoon they said “Love you” and “See you later” to each other before police arrived at the home and told her he had been killed.

DaQuan Dockery, 22, was fatally shot inside a clothing store at the Mall at Prince George’s on March 25. Days after the shooting, which led to the evacuation of the mall on a busy Friday night, Prince George’s County police announced that two 16-year-old boys had been arrested and charged with murder in the shooting. Though police believe the attack was not random and may have stemmed from a dispute, the incident rattled the community and prompted police to step up enforcement in and around the mall.

“Violence for any reason is cause for grave concern and will not be tolerated by this police department or community,” the Hyattsville Police Department said in a statement.

Man slain at Mall at Prince George’s

The shooting unfolded about 6:30 p.m. Officers were called to the mall in the 3500 block of East-West Highway and found DaQuan Dockery shot inside a store, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

Prince George’s County police said they are working to determine whether the teens arrested in the killing knew Dockery. No further details were provided about the circumstances of the shooting. Police said the motive remains under investigation. Police did not release the names of the teens because they are juveniles.

The mall, consisting of indoor and outdoor shopping with retail chains and restaurants, is normally busy, Hyattsville Police Chief Jarod J. Towers said at a news conference that Friday.

Dockery, a D.C. native, was “full of life” and starting his own clothing line of sweatshirts and caps, his mother said, a reflection of his love for style and clothes. He always “dressed to impress” and carried a hairbrush with him and envisioned one day being his own boss, Elizabeth Dockery said.

A graduate of Woodson High School in D.C., he worked at a Sweetgreen restaurant. It was his helpfulness and attentiveness without asking that made her son stand out, his mother said.

“He would always check on me,” she said. “DaQuan just was one of those type of young men who would say, ‘Mom, here’s money, just put this on the bill. Okay? ‘Cause you know I live here too and I use water and I use the washing machine, et cetera.’”

Almost a week after the shooting, the mall teemed with families and community members in the late morning. Parents pushed strollers, teens bought ice cream and people milled through the rows in clothing shops. At the same time, police and mall security roamed throughout the mall and food court.

The window of Last Stop, an apparel store, was boarded up with a caution marker in front.

Employees throughout the mall said the shooting was unusual. Young people come to shop and browse through stores, and aside from theft, crime is at a minimum, they said.

According to data kept by Hyattsville, about 22 percent of city crime reports filed from October 2016 to January 2022 were in the 3500 block of East-West Highway, the mall’s address, ranging from shoplifting to armed incidents and assaults.

The Mall at Prince George’s houses 19 percent of Hyattsville’s businesses and attracts visitors from across the Maryland and D.C. region, the Hyattsville Police Department said in a statement to The Washington Post.

“The crime rate at the Mall versus the rest of the City is proportional, given the increased density of businesses and patrons in that area,” said Hyattsville police acting Lt. Scott Ratty, Special Services Division commander, who oversees the department’s Criminal Investigative Section and Community Action Teams.

Most crimes recorded at the mall are shoplifting, which are reported by business personnel and recorded by the police department, said Hyattsville police acting Lt. Zachary Nemser, the Patrol Division commander.

“The safety and financial security of the businesses in Hyattsville are as important to us as the safety of our residents and visitors,” Towers said.

Mazie Fuller and Barbara Lofty, both 78, were recently seated at a table in front of a Cinnabon enjoying their morning after a walk. The women said seniors come to walk around the mall around 9 a.m. before most stores open to enjoy the peacefulness and have breakfast together afterward. They said the shooting and how young the suspects are was “a shame.”

“They need to take the guns off the street from the kids,” Lofty said.

Crime involving juveniles has been a concern in the Washington region, including Prince George’s County, where authorities have been particularly worried about carjackings involving youths. As of the end of March, 191 juveniles had been arrested in Prince George’s for nonviolent and violent crime, according to data from the department.

In an email to The Post, the company that owns the mall said it was “deeply saddened” by the incident.

“We believe the incident to be isolated but are extremely thankful for the response from local law enforcement,” a Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust spokesperson said. “We will continue to work collaboratively with the police and our security team to ensure a safe and secure environment for our shoppers and tenants, which is our top priority.”

Elizabeth Dockery said she hopes for clarity as to why the shooting happened.

“They made an arrest, but it’s still going to be hard. DaQuan is still not going to be here,” she said.



Source link