2 Killed, 3 Wounded in Clay Terrace NE Drive-By

Two people were killed and three others were wounded in what police think was a drive-by shooting in Northeast Washington on Tuesday that might have stemmed from an ongoing dispute between two rival neighborhoods.
By Clarence Williams and Theola Labbé-DeBose
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Two teenagers were killed, and three others were wounded Tuesday in what police think was a drive-by shooting in Northeast Washington that might have stemmed from an ongoing dispute between two rival neighborhoods, police said.

The dead were identified late Tuesday night as neighborhood resident Davonta Artis, 15, and Daquan Tibbs, 18, of Southeast. Earlier, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said the other three teens "are likely to make it through."

The shooting happened shortly after 4 p.m. in the 5300 block of Clay Terrace, D.C. police spokesman Quintin Peterson said. Artis died at the scene, and Tibbs died at a hospital. The shootings took place in the Clay Terrace housing complex, an area long known for a problem with violent crime and drug activity. Last year, a joint D.C. police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force shut down a drug ring in the neighborhood.

Fenty said Tuesday's shootings show that, despite that operation, "there's still a lot of work to be done."

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said police were looking for a black sport-utility vehicle with tinted windows that was seen leaving the shooting. Police also were investigating whether there was an exchange of gunfire between two groups because investigators found several types of shell casings at the scene.

Asked about a possible motive, Lanier said: "Right now there's the possibility of an ongoing dispute between neighborhoods. We're not going to let this continue." She declined to identify the second neighborhood. "There's more than one beef going on with the guys at Clay Terrace," Lanier said.

A 20-year-old man who lives in Clay Terrace, speaking on condition of anonymity out of concern for his safety, said he was getting ready to walk out of his apartment when he heard the shots. "I went back inside and laid on the floor," the man said. "When I came back out again, I saw five people" shot.

The man said that in recent weeks he had seen a police car stationed at two intersections near the shooting, at 53rd Street and Clay Terrace and 55th and Blaine streets. But the man said he did not see police cars in those locations Tuesday.

Lanier confirmed that police have had a heavy presence at Clay Terrace recently because of the problems. She said that included placing patrol cars along 53rd Street and other "fixed locations." Although she did not know whether officers were there at the time of the shooting, she said that a patrol car was nearby and that an officer heard the shots and responded in seconds.

Annette Mountjoy, who was at the scene of the shootings, said Artis was an eighth-grader and was on his way home from Ronald H. Brown Middle School when he was struck by gunfire.

"He was a good boy. He goes to school every day; he's an A student," she said.

Darryl Profit was in his house about a half-block from the shooting, which occurred in a parking area between two two-story brick buildings. "I heard about 30 gunshots, and it sounded like three different guns," he said.

Leon Sims, 55, was driving through the neighborhood to pick up a friend from work when he heard the shots. "It was like we were at war," Sims said. "It was a lot of shots. I can't say how many it was, but it was a lot of shots."

About an hour after the shooting, several relatives, neighbors and friends were crying and hugging each other in the street. Many were on their cellphones, trying to find out whether their loved ones were victims.

Lanier noted that the shootings occurred in broad daylight and said that police need witnesses to help them stop the violence.

"It might not be your child today, but one day it could be," she said. She noted that there was a crime camera nearby and that investigators were downloading pictures from it Tuesday night.

Staff videographer Anna Uhls contributed to this report.

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