Boy Is Arrested In Shooting; Girl Was Not Target

By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 24, 2008

A 13-year-old girl wounded by gunfire in Northeast Washington this week was unintentionally shot from about 100 yards away by a 15-year-old boy who was aiming at someone standing near her, D.C. police said yesterday.

In announcing an arrest in the case, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said that the girl, who is hospitalized, was shot "in the torso" about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and that her wound is not life-threatening.

"We are extremely fortunate and blessed that she will make a full recovery," said Fenty, who joined police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and other officials at a news conference at the scene of shooting, the courtyard of a brick apartment complex in the 400 block of 51st Street NE, in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood.

Lt. Damion Taylor said police recovered the handgun they believe was used in the shooting.

The boy, who had lived in the neighborhood, was arrested about 3 a.m. yesterday and charged as a juvenile with assault with a dangerous weapon and carrying a pistol without a license, police said.

He also was charged as a juvenile with robbery and armed carjacking in connection with an unrelated recent incident. They provided few details, noting that arrests and prosecutions of juveniles are handled confidentially.

They said the boy was atop a hill about 100 yards from the courtyard when he opened fire on "a rival." That person escaped injury, but the girl standing near him, outside her family's apartment, was hit.

Lanier credited the arrest to around-the-clock work by several police units and thanked residents, who she said were angered by the shooting and provided valuable tips.

Lanier said the arrest was important not only to the victim's family but also because having the youth in custody could ward off any attempts at retaliation.

"One senseless act tends to lead to a series of other senseless acts . . . in what we all know here in Washington, D.C., as a retaliatory cycle," the chief said. "If we can stop the cycle at the very first act, we won't see what we've seen periodically over the past several years -- these spikes in violence."

When Fenty and Lanier arrived at the apartment complex yesterday, they met briefly with the girl's mother, embracing her and chatting with her. The mother described her daughter's condition as stable but declined to be interviewed further.

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