Gunman sprays DC crowd, killing 4 and wounding 5

Liz De La Torre

From The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A gunman sprayed bullets from a moving vehicle into a crowd in southeast Washington, killing four and wounding at least five others before leading police on a chase into Maryland.

Three people were arrested in the worst shooting in D.C. in 16 years. The D.C. councilman who represents the area, former Mayor Marion Barry, said a dispute between groups in the neighborhood caused the shooting.

Six men and three women were hit by the gunfire around 7:30 p.m., said D.C. police spokesman Officer Hugh Carew. Fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said all were in their 20s and 30s, except for one teenager.

Police have not released the names of the victims, but Rico Scott said his cousin, 19-year-old DeVaughn Boyd, was one of those killed.

Boyd was a high school senior who didn’t hang out with the wrong crowd, said Scott, who visited the shooting scene Wednesday morning. Boyd liked to go to the mall and the movies with friends, as well as parties that featured go-go music, a mix of soul, funk and Latin styles, Boyd said.

Boyd’s mother was initially told that her son was taken to Washington Hospital Center, then learned early Wednesday he was pronounced dead at a different hospital, Scott said.

“She’s not good because she wasn’t able to see her baby boy before he succumbed to his injuries. She wasn’t able to give him one last, ‘It’s going to be all right,'” Scott said. “She’s not going to be all right for some time.”

By late Tuesday, one victim had died at the scene, a second was pronounced dead at a hospital and the third died in an operating room, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear where the fourth victim had died.

The shooting was the worst in D.C. since 1994, when four men fired into a crowd at the O Street Market, killing a teenager and wounding eight other people. A man was convicted of orchestrating the shooting to retaliate against people who had shot him in the stomach and robbed him several weeks earlier. He believed the people who had attacked him often visited the market.

Four D.C. officers were slightly injured while chasing a suspect’s vehicle into neighboring Prince George’s County in Maryland, authorities said. A weapon was also recovered.

The Washington Post reported that police, aided by a helicopter, pursued a van from the scene.

Two men were to be arraigned in the shooting Wednesday afternoon, but a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office did not immediately know what their charges were. It was also not clear whether the two men were among the three already arrested.

Officers had cleared the shooting scene Wednesday, but there were still five police cruisers parked outside a brick garden-style apartment building on a main road that links the area to downtown. There was a blood-covered gauze package on the sidewalk, which was wet and smelled of bleach.

The shootings were in a neighborhood near a water treatment plant and Bolling Air Force Base and about seven miles from the White House. D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson said the area was known for drugs and related violence.

“It’s not a stranger to violent activity, unfortunately,” said Mendelson, the chairman of the D.C. Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary.

Barry, who had been briefed by police, said it appears “crews” — groups of friends who are not necessarily organized as gangs — had some sort of dispute with each other.

“I’m saddened. I’m outraged. I’m angry,” Barry said. “We have a tough enough reputation anyway,” he said of his district.

He said he was worried about further retaliation between groups, but that he had been reassured by police.

Washington reported 143 homicides last year, the fewest in nearly 50 years.