Despite a series of crimes that have rocked usually quiet Savage this month, community leaders assured stunned residents Tuesday night that their community remains a good one.
About 100 Savage residents turned out for a meeting to discuss the Sept. 8 carjacking that killed research chemist Pam Basu and the Sept. 4 arrests of a Savage volunteer firefighter on rape charges and a minister accused of sexually abusing his adopted daughters when they were children.
"This is a good community," said County Councilwoman Shane Pendergrass, whose district includes Savage. "It's a cohesive community where people care about each other."
Ms. Pendergrass called the meeting, attended by state legislators and county law enforcement officials, to give residents a chance to ask questions about the recent incidents.
Most of the questions focused on the carjacking in which Dr. Basu, a Bolling Brook resident, was dragged to her death after becoming entangled in a seat belt when two men allegedly forced her from her car and sped away.
The community urged county State's Attorney William R. Hymes to seek the death penalty against the two men charged in the 34-year-old woman's death.
"I think a person who dragged a woman three miles up the street should have to face the same death," said Regina Trader.
Mr. Hymes said he can't make a decision on the death penalty until his review of the police investigation is completed.
"In 100 percent of the cases where it's possible, I have asked for the death penalty," Mr. Hymes said. "What makes you think I would change in this monstrous case?" he asked.
Residents voiced overwhelming support for the Savage Volunteer Fire Company, which came under scrutiny following news reports that member James Scott Botschen had been charged with rape. Mr. Botschen also had ridden on at least six ambulance calls even though he had been convicted in January of assaulting a woman and banned from ambulance duty.
The company's president, Alan Grimes, pledged that despite the incident, the company wouldn't lessen its work in the community it has served since 1937.
Capt. Rich Hall, of the county police department, told residents that the minister was released Tuesday on bail.
As part of the investigation, police asked members of the minister's parish to come forward if they had been abused. No one has contacted the department, Captain Hall said.