Mother of halfway house murder victim calls for justice in unsolved homicide

ASPEN HILL, Md. (WJLA) - A mother is begging for the public and law enforcement's help in solving her son's brutal murder.

Around 10:50 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2013, three gunmen broke into an Aspen Hill halfway house along the 13400 block of Grenoble Drive. Once inside, the trio shot and killed Alex Buie. Paramedics transported the 34-year-old to Suburban Hospital, where doctors later pronounced him dead.

"They just took everything from him, they took his future from him," Buie's mother, Kay Billups, told ABC 7 News. "We're just totally devastated."

Billups, a retired businesswoman, admits her son had struggled throughout his 20s and 30s. Alcohol was his vice. But she says the 1998 Thomas Stone High School graduate had recently turned his life around. He'd been sober for 11 months when he was shot and killed, possibly over money he was saving to buy a new car.

"We knew he had recovered," Billups added. "He looked so good. He was doing so well, and he was so proud of the work that he had done to get there."

Buie spent his summers working as a lifeguard at the West Hillandale Swim Club in Silver Spring. On Friday, a picnic table with laminated photos of the jovial 34-year-old sat in a shaded corner on the wooded property.

"He loved working here at the pool, and they loved him being here, too," Billups said.

From the get-go, the homicide investigation looked promising. There were witnesses to the crime, including a 23-year-old roommate who was washing dishes in the kitchen when gunfire erupted.

"When I first got him [Alex], he was sitting down, looking at the ground. He was in like a pool of blood, and I just told him to relax," the young man, who did not want to be identified, told ABC 7 News the morning after the murder.

That roommate helped investigators craft a black-and-white composite sketch for one suspect. But more than eight months have since passed, and police have made no arrests. Billups, who says she's growing impatient, claims detectives no longer return her phones calls or emails.

"I believe the case has been put on hold. I've been given some very, very sad excuses for why this has not moved forward," Billups remarked. "My question to Montgomery County Police is, 'Why haven't these men been arrested and brought to justice?'"

Montgomery County's Major Crimes Division says it's never stopped pursuing the Buie case, which today remains open. While investigators are not releasing new leads to the public, they vow to be committed to solving the case.

"Our Major Crimes investigators ... are steadfast, professional, and invest countless hours behind the scenes examining evidence, developing leads and conducting interviews,” said Lt. Greg Wise, deputy director of the Major Crimes Division. “While we are always sensitive to the victims’ families’ need for information, we cannot divulge specific details that may result in a suspect remaining free or negatively impact a prosecution. Ultimately, the apprehension and successful prosecution must come first. We hope that our community understands our investigative protocol.”

Until justice is served, Billups says she'll continue to spend her days remembering her firstborn child, all the while pleading for his killers to come forward.

"I always thought my son would bury me. I never dreamed that I would bury Alex,” she said. “Our entire family is lost without him, and I don't know how anyone could have done such a horrible thing.”

There are currently three suspects in the case—all black males. The first suspect is in his 20s and is about 6 feet tall. He has curly hair and a mustache, and was last seen wearing camouflage pants. The second suspect is also in his 20s and wore dark clothing. The third suspect, described as the tallest of the trio, wore all black clothing and a black bandana on his face.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact detectives at 240-773-5070. Tips received through the Crime Solvers program may be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.