Motive Sought in Shooting of Two D.C. Teens

Evidence markers are deployed in the street at First Place and M Street NW, scene of a double shooting Monday night.
Evidence markers are deployed in the street at First Place and M Street NW, scene of a double shooting Monday night. (By Nikki Kahn -- The Washington Post)
By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

D.C. police said a dispute at a go-go club could have led to a shooting Monday night in Northwest Washington that killed one teenager and wounded another.

The drive-by shooting occurred in the long-troubled Sursum Corda housing complex, off North Capitol Street, where a 14-year-old girl was killed last year. The shooting unnerved some residents, who said a crackdown on violent crime and drug-dealing had begun to make them feel safer.

Two people in a vehicle opened fire about 8:50 p.m. in the 1100 block of First Place NW, police said. The two teenagers were among dozens of people standing around, some near an ice cream truck, enjoying the end of the holiday weekend.

Children began screaming and crying, and some parents began shouting for their children to take cover, according to witnesses. The two gunshot victims ran down the street before collapsing.

Police identified the dead youth as Andre Belton, 17, of the 4400 block of 23rd Parkway in Temple Hills. Friends said he was a senior at Oxon Hill High School. The name of the other youth, who is 15, was not released because he is a witness. He was treated at a hospital and released.

Police said they were investigating various possible motives for the attack, including a tip that it might have stemmed from a dispute at a go-go club in Northeast Washington.

"Right now, we're hearing multiple reasons why this happened," said Cmdr. Thomas McGuire of the 1st Police District.

One neighbor, who would not give her name because, she said, she was concerned about her family's safety, said the shooting may have been a result of disputes between neighborhood groups at go-go clubs Saturday and Monday. But she said the two youths who were shot did not go the clubs either night.

The neighbor said she saw a white van pull up to the corner just before the shooting. A man dressed in black stepped out of the sliding door and opened fire, she said.

The shooting represented a setback for neighbors who said they had begun to feel comfortable letting their children play outdoors because of the crackdown that began after the January 2004 slaying of Jahkema Princess Hansen. Until Monday, she was the last person killed in the complex. Police officials have said they made more than 300 arrests since early last year for narcotics violations and other charges.

"We've been able to sit in front of our house, but now I don't know," Jewell Cade said.

Cade said she was in her living room with her 4-month-old grandson and a 14-year-old nephew when a bullet pierced the front door and lodged in the wall.

"It's frightening. There were so many shots," she said.

Neighbors said the 17-year-old victim often came to visit his father in the area and hang out with friends. They described him as very quiet. They said he and the wounded 15-year-old, who lives in the area, were not troublemakers.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company