Man slain by gunfire apparently was driving car

Police have identified the District man who was shot and killed in Southeast Washington on Saturday night as 22-year-old Darnell Rivers.

After the gunfire, the car Rivers was apparently driving jumped a curb and crashed into a tree about 7:45 p.m. in the 5000 block of Ayers Place SE, in the Marshall Heights area.

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Witnesses said the car’s wheels continued to spin for a long time after the impact. Smoke began to drift from the vehicle, possibly from friction caused by the turning tires, police said, and an initial report suggested that the car had caught fire.

Rivers was pulled from the car. He had been fatally wounded, and his body lay in the street long after the incident occurred.

Residents of the area declined to be quoted by name, citing privacy and noting that the attacker remained at large. Two of them reported hearing gunshots before the car crashed. It was not clear where the man was shot. One neighbor said the shots may have been fired on another street.

Police said Sunday that two other male victims, who sustained gun shot wounds, had also been identified at a nearby hospital.

The killing, with less than three days left in 2012, was believed to be the city’s 87th of the year.

Ann E. Marimow contributed to this report.

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