- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
By JOHN WHARTON
Two years ago this month, Deondre Augustus “Gus” Hawkins was found shot and dying in a car in a St. Mary’s neighborhood.
His mother started getting phone calls about an hour later from her son’s friends, saying that they’d heard he was in a car accident.
Phyllis Clark is still waiting for another call, telling her that her son’s killer has been caught.
St. Mary’s detectives once again issued a request last week for the public’s help in finding the culprit, offering a reward of up to $1,000 through the county Crime Solvers program for information leading to an arrest and conviction. They acknowledged that the reward offered now is less than it was earlier in the investigation, because additional reward funds have been withdrawn.
Clark confirmed on Friday that she’s reclaiming the $8,000 she once put up to increase the incentive for someone to say what they know about her son’s death.
“I’m taking my money back,” she said. “I have no faith in that county.”
Clark, now 47, said that she moved to another part of Maryland, out of concern for her own safety, a couple of months after her son was killed. She recently met with a detective who has been newly assigned to the case, she said, after the initial investigator received a promotion.
“Nobody has come forward,” she said. “Nobody wants to be a witness. Nobody wants that money. It means nothing to them.”
At about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2011, police found Hawkins, 20, with a gunshot wound in his upper torso, and seated in a 2000 Lincoln Town Car that had crashed into a tree off Sell Drive at the St. Clement’s Crossing neighborhood off Great Mills Road.
Clark said she got a text message in the spring of last year that a detective was “closer than ever” to making an arrest in the case, but it never happened.
“So what is ‘closer than ever’? Here it is a year and four months and two days later,” she said. “I got no help from that county for two years. It’s time for me to look for other resources.”
Clark said her son stayed out of gang activity in St. Mary’s, which may have cost him protection from harm, and now could be protecting his killer.
“If he was part of a gang, he wouldn’t have been killed,” she said.
Gang members “stick together” and don’t tell on each other, Clark said, and she’s now reaching out to other people, from another generation, to find justice for her slain son.
“I’m trying to relate to people as a mother,” she said. “The parents should think about what if it was their child. I’m sure that there are parents out there who know, [who] have heard conversations.”
Detectives have requested that anyone with information or who may have witnessed the crime contact detective Cpl. Sarah Russell at 301-475-4200, ext. 9105, make anonymous tips to Crime Solvers at 301-475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239,” plus the message, to “CRIMES” (274637).