Drive-By Attack Wounds 2 Students Near D.C. School

A police investigator tags evidence at the scene of yesterday's drive-by shooting outside Roosevelt Senior High.
A police investigator tags evidence at the scene of yesterday's drive-by shooting outside Roosevelt Senior High. (By Robert A. Reeder -- The Washington Post)
By Del Quentin Wilber and V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 6, 2006

Two students were shot yesterday morning in a drive-by attack outside a Northwest Washington high school that sent dozens of other panicked youths racing for cover.

The gunfire took place at 9:15 a.m. on a crowded sidewalk between Roosevelt Senior High School and MacFarland Middle School. Officials immediately hustled students inside the buildings and locked down both schools as police unsuccessfully searched for suspects.

A 19-year-old senior was struck in the back and taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he underwent surgery and was in critical condition last night. The second victim, an 18-year-old senior, suffered a graze wound to the shoulder and was treated by a school nurse. Police officials did not release their names, but law enforcement sources identified the 19-year-old as Deonte Woodson.

"This was very bold," said Police Cmdr. Hilton Burton, who oversees patrol operations in the area of the two schools. "There were lots of kids around, so we're lucky none of them were hit."

The shooting was the second in recent years at Roosevelt High and reignited concerns about safety in D.C. schools. A 20-year-old man was slain on the school's track in October 2002 in an attack blamed on gang warfare. In addition to the 2002 shooting at Roosevelt, three students have been killed at or near schools in the city since the beginning of 2003.

Police had found no motive or suspects in yesterday's violence and said it was unclear whether the victims were targeted or hit by bullets intended for others. Detectives said they were investigating the possibility that the shooting was tied to a fight two weeks ago involving Woodson and other youths.

Witnesses told police that the gunshots came from a gray or silver Cadillac that was pulling out of a school parking lot in the 4300 block of Iowa Avenue NW, police said. The car was last seen going north on Georgia Avenue NW.

Tommy Snipe, who was standing at a nearby bus stop, said he heard 10 gunshots and turned to see students scattering and Woodson clinging to the parking lot's fence. The teenager then slumped to the sidewalk. Snipe ran over to help and watched as Woodson faded in and out of consciousness.

"We kept asking him to tell us his name," said Snipe, 45. "I thought he was dead. There was nothing I could do but tell him to lay down and don't move."

Roosevelt serves about 800 ninth- through 12th-graders. The red-brick high school is next to MacFarland on a sprawling campus just off 13th Street NW.

The D.C. Council last year transferred responsibility for overseeing school security to city police. But law enforcement authorities have maintained that metal detectors and locker searches cannot prevent criminal activity on the streets and campuses outside school buildings.

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said there was little police could have done to prevent the shooting. The officers had finished their patrol duties outside the schools by the time classes began at 8:45 and had moved inside both buildings when the shooting started, police officials said.

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