A dispute at an outdoor dice game may have prompted a man to open fire on other players Wednesday night, killing one and wounding three in an alley near the Sursum Corda neighborhood in Northwest Washington, according to police and a neighborhood representative.
Police said the game is one motive they are exploring, but cautioned that the investigation is in its early stages. Authorities said it was not clear whether the shooting stemmed from an internal dispute or if a gunman targeted people involved in the game.
The shooting occurred minutes before midnight near First and Pierce streets, behind a Boys & Girls Club in an area known for drug dealing and violence.
Delonta Hendrix, 32, of Northwest Washington, was killed in the shooting. The other victims, all men in their early 20s, were recovering from wounds to their legs and lower bodies at area hospitals, according to police.
Alvin O. Judd Sr., a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6E and a community resident for 53 years, said he was home when he heard eight to 10 gunshots. He said he knows some of the victims and that he’d been talking to many people in the neighborhood who said the victims were playing dice.
“They were gambling last night before all the shooting started,” Judd said. “And when they gamble, something always happens. I think some of the guys had words with another guy and it turned into a shootout.”
The shooting occurred two blocks from Tyler House, a low-income apartment complex where 13 people were wounded in a mass shooting in March linked to a dispute between neighborhood crews. Police have made arrests in that case. In June, two people were shot in the 1100 block of First Place, near the site of Wednesday’s shooting. One of the two victims in the June shooting, 26-year-old Andre Wilson of Northwest, was killed. Judd said that each of those shootings appears to be an isolated incident.
The Wednesday shooting occurred just outside Sursum Corda, on a street lined with townhouses and the Walker-Jones Education Campus. Police extended the crime scene into a courtyard and playground in Sursum Corda.
The neighborhood is on the edge of a community now dubbed NoMa, short for “north of Massachusetts Avenue,” filled with recently built expensive apartments, high-end shops and businesses. There is new construction near the shooting scene as well, mostly new residential townhouses.
Police said officers rushed to the 1100 block of First Street NW in response to numerous reports of gunshots. They found a chaotic scene, with two victims on Pierce Street — the dead man shot in the back, another man wounded in the lower body — and a third on First Street with a wound to the leg. A friend took the fourth victim, who was struck in the forearm, to the hospital.
Judd, who coaches youth basketball at the Boys & Girls Club, said he has seen Hendrix in the neighborhood and that he lived at Tyler House. The victim’s family could not be reached for comment.