Correction to This Article
The article incorrectly reported the street where the incident occurred. The attack occurred in the 3300 block of Manorwood Drive.

Pointless Brutality Marks Lethal Hyattsville Attack

Hyattsville resident and neighbor Vilma Oliva talks about the shooting of 4 men on Manorwood Drive. Video by Hamil Harris/The Washington Post
By Ruben Castaneda and Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 28, 2008

They were sitting in a car in a working-class neighborhood in Hyattsville, about to leave for a soccer game at RFK Stadium in the District, when the assailants approached.

Witnesses later told police that a gunman and three others ordered the victims, four Latino men, to hand over their money. They complied, one law enforcement official said, with "no resistance whatsoever."

Even so, moments later, outside the car, the gunman shot each of the victims in the head Wednesday night, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Two were killed.

"That's pretty brutal stuff," the official said. "I think there's even a code among bad guys: You don't harm non-resisting victims."

One of the victims, 22, died at the scene, and another, 30, died at a hospital, authorities said. One of the survivors was hospitalized in critical condition; the other's injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, authorities said.

The attack occurred on a street of two-story brick duplexes with well-maintained front yards. The residents include Latinos, blacks, non-Hispanic whites and Asians.

Several residents, including Don Tanner, who lives one street over, said the neighborhood is usually peaceful.

"I have lived here for 45 years, and about 10 years ago, I got a little concerned about the neighborhood, and Hyattsville police came in here and cleaned the place up," said Tanner, 58. "I lived here with the doors open without a problem. This is absolutely isolated. We have never had anything like this."

Another resident, Vilma Oliva, 33, said yesterday that she knew one of the men who was killed. She said he and his friends had been celebrating because the national soccer team from their native El Salvador was about to play Anguilla in a World Cup qualifying game.

"They were going to the stadium. They were waiting for a friend," Oliva said.

Oliva said that when she heard the gunshots, she looked outside her front door and saw her neighbor lying on the ground, shot in the face. "It is hard seeing someone that you know laying there," Oliva said.

Of her neighbor, Oliva said: "From what I saw, he went to work and came home. He wasn't a troublemaker."

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