Aaron Leach repeatedly denied his mother’s request to join the military when he graduated from high school. Leach, 21, was afraid he’d have to go to war and he’d be killed in action.

Unfortunately for Leach, his fear came true. However, it was only miles from his home, as he was murdered leaving a party on June 19 on the 11500 block of Lottsford Terrace in Mitchellville.

For Millicent Edgar, who has done everything in her power to keep her children safe, it is the worst-fear-come-true for a mother. “Losing a child is just the worst thing ever,” said Edgar of her son, whom she described as a “fun kid” who loved music. “I don’t even feel right being here myself. I would rather have my home foreclosed on or lose my job – anything but this.”

Shortly after 11 p.m. that night, Prince George’s County Police responded to the scene for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found three men wounded from gunshots. All three were transported to a local hospital where Leach was pronounced dead.

The two other victims, 21- and 23-year-old men, were treated for non-life threatening injuries and released. Their names aren’t being release to protect the investigation, according to Sgt. Michelle Reedy, spokeswoman with the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD).

Leach, Edgar said, tried to break up an incident in which a male partygoer had broken a bottle in an attempt to cut someone else. She said Leach was successful in calming the person down at that point, but she believes that it was the same person who later shot and killed her son. When asked, PGPD officials would neither confirm nor deny those details as an investigation is ongoing.

This is the second high-profile murder in Prince George’s County this month. The murders of Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown and Leach have many in the community angry over gun violence in the county.

“In the wake of the senseless killings during the past two weeks – one a young man at a house party in Mitchellville, the other a Maryland State Trooper in Forestville – it pains and angers me that these two tragedies occurred in Prince George’s County,” said Derrick L. Davis, candidate for District 6 County Council and current chairman of the board for the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund.

“Gone are two sons of Prince George’s county – one whose life was cut short at the age of 21 trying to do the right thing by breaking up an altercation at an event meant for people to celebrate success, a life snuffed out before allowing us a glimpse of his fullest potential,” Davis continued, “the other a 24 year old role model in his community, a true mentor and god brother to young men in and around Seat Pleasant, who was simply working extra hours off-duty to earn money likely to support his mentoring efforts.”

Edgar, a nurse at Washington Hospital Center, has treated gunshot victims on many occasions. She says she understands the damage violence does to the communities in the district. She has now come to grips with the fact that it can strike quiet communities, like the one she lives in and the one where her son’s life ended.

“It doesn’t matter where you live,” she said. “It just doesn’t matter if you live in Sursom Cordas (a Washington, D.C. housing project known for crime) or Mitchellville. It’s not safe anywhere.”

Edgar pledges that her son’s death will not be in vain. She says with all the attention his murder has garnered, she will make sure something positive comes out of it. “Something good is going to come from this,” she said. “Since it happened, I’ve seen people that I haven’t seen in years because people are just tired of this.”

 

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO