D.C. man jailed in shooting that preceded drive-by killings

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered that a District man be held in jail Monday to await trial in connection with a March 22 fatal shooting in Southeast Washington that police say set up a sequence of events that culminated in a drive-by shooting a week later that left four dead and five wounded.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz said she found sufficient cause that Sanquan Carter, 19, committed second-degree murder while armed in the shooting death of Jordan Howe, 20, as Howe sat in the driver's side seat of a car outside an apartment building in the 1300 block of Alabama Avenue SE.

On the second day of a hearing that began Wednesday, additional details of the shooting were revealed as Carter's attorney, Larry Kupers of the District's Public Defender Service, questioned lead homicide Detective Anthony Patterson about the shooting.

Patterson said Carter became angry at Howe and other people who attended a party at the apartment building after Carter's gold-colored bracelet was stolen. Patterson said Carter called his brother, Orlando Carter, who arrived in a champagne-colored vehicle. Patterson said Orlando Carter, 20, brought his younger brother a .380-caliber pistol.

The detective said the brothers began patting people down at the building but were unable to find the bracelet. Then, according to witnesses, Sanquan Carter turned to his brother and said, "Do you want to hammer them?" Orlando Carter began shooting an AK-47 into the crowd, while Sanquan Carter followed suit with the pistol. Patterson said Howe died from two wounds caused by the AK-47, while at least one injured person was hit by bullets from the pistol.

Patterson said one witness later turned the bracelet over to police. "There was no evidence that [Howe] had any part in the missing gold bracelet," the detective said.

Leibovitz also ordered Sanquan Carter, who has been in and out of juvenile detention centers, remanded to D.C. jail. On March 19, just three days before the shooting, Carter had been in D.C. Superior Court before another judge on a January 2009 charge of possession of crack cocaine. At that hearing, Judge Craig Iscoe extended his probation for six months.

On Monday, Carter had been scheduled to appear as a defendant in another case. In November, he had been arrested and charged with carjacking a Silver Mercury Sable in Southeast Washington. That trial has been rescheduled because of the murder charges.

Carter was arrested the day after the shooting and was in jail when the March 30 drive-by shooting occurred. Orlando Carter and Nathaniel Simms, 26, were arrested after they allegedly opened fire in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street in the Washington Highlands neighborhood on a group of mourners who had attended Howe's funeral that day. A 14-year-old suspect, who police say drove the minivan used in the drive-by shooting, was charged, as a juvenile, with 41 counts, including first-degree murder. He is being held in a maximum-security juvenile detention facility. His trial is scheduled for next month. Police are still looking for a fourth suspect in the drive-by shooting.

At Monday's hearing, federal marshals were busy controlling the flow of spectators as victims' friends and family sat on opposite sides of the courtroom from the Carter family.

Howe's grandmother, Brenda Harrison, sat wiping her tears as she looked at Carter, who was shackled and wearing a prison jumpsuit just a few feet away. Also at the hearing was Nardyne Jefferies, who had buried her daughter, Brishell Jones, four days earlier. Jones, 16, was the youngest of the four victims killed in the drive-by shooting.

"They're supposed to be burying me, not me burying them," Harrison said tearfully after the hearing.

Court officials said they have called for additional security for Thursday's preliminary hearing for Orlando Carter and Simms.

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