Prince George’s County police said they remained stumped Friday in trying to identify a motive and suspect in the slaying of 17-year-old Amber D. Stanley, an honors student shot in her bedroom by a mysterious intruder.
“I wish I was lying to you right now, but I’m not. We’ve got nothing, absolutely nothing,” said Capt. Joseph R. Hoffman of the homicide unit. “We’re at zero.”
Stanley, who had just begun her senior year at Charles H. Flowers High School in Springdale and hoped to attend Harvard University, was at home with her family shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday when a gunman barged into the house on Chartsey Street in Kettering, near Largo, according to police. They said the assailant walked directly to Stanley’s bedroom, opened fire with a handgun and quickly fled.
Investigators said they were not certain that Stanley was the intended target. The attacker, they said, might have gone to the wrong bedroom or even the wrong house.
Acquaintances described Stanley as a popular, friendly young woman who excelled in school and aspired to become a doctor. “It’s traumatic,” Police Chief Mark Magaw said of the killing. “It sent a ripple through this whole community.”
Neighbors said Stanley’s mother is a hairstylist who had two biological daughters, including Stanley, and was also providing foster care to a teenage girl. A law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said patrol officers were called to the single-family house last weekend because of an issue involving the youngster who is in foster care.
Police Maj. Michael Straughan declined to comment on the relationship between the foster daughter and others in the household, and he said the motive for the attack remained unknown. At the time of the shooting, three people in the house escaped through a window and sought help from a neighbor, police said.
Police are investigating “everything in that particular house and the occupants,” Straughan said. “What could be more innocent than a 17-year-old student with a bright future ahead? It’s tragic,” he said.