Police: Alexandria community activist was shot, then dumped down well

The missing Alexandria activist whose body was recovered from a well in Fort Washington Saturday had been shot to death, authorities said Monday.


Lenwood "Lenny" Harris (Courtesy of Jason Felder)

Detectives were tipped to the body on Thursday, when someone called 911 anonymously to report it was there, authorities said. That launched a days-long excavation process, which ended Saturday when evidence technicians brought Harris’s remains above ground.

Police had long suspected foul play in Harris’s disappearance, and after his body was recovered, their suspicions were confirmed. An autopsy determined the well-known community activist was murdered, authorities said. Magaw said Monday that the medical examiner attributed the cause of death to a gunshot, and that Harris’s body had been in the well “an extended period of time.”

(The Root D.C.: Remembering Lenny Harris)

Detectives are still working to track down suspects and a motive in the case, though they seem to have several leads. A tattooed man was caught on an ATM surveillance camera using Harris’s bank card hours after he disappeared, and police found Harris’s cell phone on the Woodrow Wilson bridge.

On Monday, Magaw said investigators were working to identify the 911 caller and pursue other leads. He said whoever dumped Harris down the well “obviously knows the area,” because it is secluded and the home on the property has been vacant since 1996.

Prince George’s County homicide detectives are working jointly with Alexandria police to investigate the case. At Monday’s news conference, Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook said he knew Harris personally, and his thoughts were with the community activist’s family.

“He was well-known,” Cook said. “Mr. Harris actually greatly affected Alexandria.”

Harris was last seen Sept. 21 at an Alexandria recreation center, Cook said. He said Harris was “going about a normal routine,” when he suddenly vanished.

“We had no indication that anything horrible was about to happen,” Cook said.

A reward of up to $38,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case, said Prince George’s County police spokeswoman Julie Parker. Those with information are asked to call the Prince George’s Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925.

More news from PostLocal:

Deadline arrives for Occupy D.C. activists

Wolf Trap settles suit with tiny nonprofit

U-Md. president saw new home as important, but also potential ‘crisis’

Jack Johnson gets two more weeks of freedom

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

local

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters