Youth Had Just Turned 17 When He Was Fatally Shot

By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 10, 2008

It was his birthday, and Julian Agurs was getting some takeout with his pals when he was wounded in a drive-by shooting Tuesday night. He was 17 for barely a day.

The gunfire caught three teens. Two boys were recovering in a hospital yesterday, but Agurs, a student at Roosevelt High School, died soon after he was shot while crossing a busy street in Northeast Washington.

Police are trying to piece together what happened, but a few details have emerged:

The words flew first: " 'We caught you loafing,' " someone yelled from a light-colored car, taunting the three teens.

They were caught by surprise leaving a carryout chicken place in the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue NE, said a police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Then came the bullets, striking Agurs and his friends. Firefighters at a station nicknamed "The Farm" heard the firecracker volley of gunfire across the street, said Alan Etter, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman.

The firefighters heard a car squeal and ran into the street, where they found three boys on the ground, Etter said. Agurs, who had a young boy's face, was so slight that the firefighters thought he was 12.

He was shot several times, and he died soon after the attack. His 16-year-old friend was shot in the back, and the 13-year-old with them was shot in the foot. Two other youths thought to have been with the victims were not wounded, police said.

Last night, detectives were searching for the car, which they thought might be a Kia, said 5th Police District Cmdr. Lamar Greene.

The gunfire apparently was part of an ongoing fight between the two groups, Greene said. He declined to discuss specifics.

Like the other victims, Agurs lived a few miles from where the shooting occurred.

Neighbors in the 4900 block of North Capitol Street said his mother had moved in with the teen a few months ago. Police said she was trying to move him away from troubles in his old neighborhood, the kind that found him Tuesday.

That night, he was hanging out with his new friends near his brick apartment building, collecting birthday congratulations shortly before he left for his old neighborhood, one of his friends said.

"It's so sad. It was his birthday yesterday," said the young man, standing in the courtyard of the North Capitol Street apartment complex. "What a birthday."

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