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Ex-Wilson Athlete Slain In Northeast

3 Injured in Street Shooting; All Had Been to Nightclub

By Susan Levine and Nicole Fuller
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 28, 2004; Page C01

A former Wilson High School athlete, home from his West Virginia college for the Thanksgiving holiday, was killed early yesterday in a street shooting in Northeast Washington that left three others wounded.

DeLoren Young, 19, was hit once in the head and died behind the wheel of a sport-utility vehicle in the 1200 block of Bladensburg Road about 4 a.m., police said. Earlier, he and the others had been at DC Tunnel, a large hip-hop nightclub about a half-mile away.

DeLoren Young was a "bright spot" on West Liberty State College's football team, a coach said. (Courtesy of West Liberty State College)

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"There were several cars involved, several guns," Sgt. Paul Wingate said.

No weapons were recovered. Officers found a 22-year-old District man shot in the face in a second car and, in a third vehicle, a 22-year-old Virginia woman with glass fragments in her face. The other victim, a 20-year-old District man who was riding with Young, was hit in the shoulder, police said. They were taken to hospitals. Police withheld their names because they are considered witnesses.

Police said they have not determined what led to the shooting, how it unfolded or who the target was.

The dearth of details seemed to deepen the bewildered sense of loss among coaches and students who knew Young at Wilson, where he played football and baseball, and at West Liberty State College, north of Wheeling, W.Va. Just weeks ago, the college ended its 2004 gridiron season, with the 5-foot-7 teenager, a tailback, rushing for 69 yards in the final game.

"He went to college to pursue his dream, to play at the next-highest level," Wilson coach Horace Fleming said. Fleming knows the family well, having coached Young's older and younger brothers. He said he was a good student.

"He is my son, and I love him," his stepfather, Mark Spriggs, said last night. He said that Young, whose mother is Monisha P. Spriggs, was "a good kid" who had never been in trouble and who "always respected his elders and was very well mannered."

He had been particularly happy lately, Mark Spriggs said, because "he had finally reached his goal . . . his dreams. Doors started opening up for him. You could see it in his face." Then "it was taken away from him," his stepfather said.

Young was "just going out to have some fun before going back to college," Mark Spriggs said. "But it didn't turn out like that."

Word spread quickly among teammates. Several called offensive coordinator Roger Waialae yesterday. "A lot of the kids are going to be devastated," Waialae said. "He was well liked."

Others might complain at practice or over plays, but not Young, the coach said. He was never late, never missed a practice. "There were a couple bright spots on the offense, and he was one of them." Perhaps that was, in part, because Young was so thrilled to be playing. His first year, he had been ineligible because of his academic record, and the first half of this season he had been a second-stringer. Then the school's all-American tailback injured his collarbone, and Young stepped in and did well.

"I saw him Wednesday" as he was leaving for the long holiday weekend, Waialae said. "I told him to have a good break and I'd see him when he came back."

Police urged anyone with information to call detectives at 202-727-9099. The department offers rewards of as much as $25,000 for information leading to arrests and convictions in homicides.

Staff writer Martin Weil contributed to this report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company