washingtonpost.com
D.C. police detail events in shooting that killed four

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 16, 2010; B05

With a slow cadence, veteran D.C. homicide detective Tony Patterson sat in the witness chair in a D.C. Superior Court room Thursday and repeated the names, ages and graphic details of the deaths of the four people killed March 30 in a drive-by shooting.

Tavon Nelson, 17, was the first killed, Patterson testified. He died of multiple gunshot wounds to his body. Five minutes later, the three other victims were fatally shot as they stood outside a District apartment building. William Jones III, 19, died of multiple wounds to his head and body. DaVaughn Boyd, 18, also was killed by several shots, and Brishell Jones, 16, died of a gunshot to her head.

Prosecutor Bruce Hegyi added to the effect by repeating each name and cause of death.

Judge Michael Rankin ordered Orlando Carter, 20, one of the three suspects arrested in one of the deadliest shootings in the District in years, held in the D.C. jail until trial.

"Clearly, this is a case where [preventive] detention is warranted," Rankin said. He set a follow-up court date for July 16.

Another suspect, Nathaniel D. Simms, 26, also was scheduled for his detention hearing Thursday, but his attorney was absent. So Simms was escorted back to jail, and his hearing was rescheduled. Earlier Thursday, a third suspect, a 14-year-old who police said drove the minivan during the shooting, stood before Judge Maurice Ross as prosecutors and attorneys discussed details of the youth's case in preparation for his trial in May.

The teenager's grandmother, who also is his guardian, was in the courtroom, according to sources familiar with the hearing. Ross ordered the teen to remain in a maximum-security center until trial. The juvenile court hearing was closed, and The Washington Post generally does not name juveniles charged in crimes unless they are charged as adults.

Police were still looking for a fourth suspect who they say was in the minivan during the shooting.

Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and with his legs and arms shackled, Carter sat motionless next to his court-appointed attorney. His head was cocked to the side as he listened to Patterson and the prosecutor outline details of the shooting that also left six other people wounded.

An additional four marshals and security guards were called to Courtroom 302 as family members and friends of the victims -- as well as of the suspects -- filled up the seats.

Even before Patterson took the stand, several family members sobbed as marshals led Carter and Simms into the courtroom. Many mourners wore purple ribbons or tribute T-shirts to honor their slain loved ones.

After the hearing, Patrice Jefferies, Jones's "Nanna," as she called herself, said she attended the proceedings to "see the faces of the monsters who have no respect for life." About an hour earlier, Jones's mother, Nardyne Jefferies, had to help her mother out of the courtroom when she began sobbing.

Patterson said the shooting capped a series of retaliations that began when a bracelet owned by Carter's younger brother Sanquan went missing at a party on March 22. Patterson said the Carter brothers and another suspect opened fire on the partygoers outside an apartment in the 1300 block of Alabama Avenue SE, killing Jordan Howe, 20, and injuring two others. Sanquan Carter, who is also in the D.C. jail, was arrested and charged in Howe's slaying a day after that shooting.

Patterson also gave additional details of the events of the March 30 shooting. Patterson said the first victim, Nelson, was shot as he stood outside an apartment building in a gated community in the unit block of Galveston Street SW. Patterson said that less than five minutes later, about 7:25 p.m., the van pulled up outside the 4000 block of South Capitol Street in the Washington Highlands neighborhood as mourners -- who had attended Howe's funeral that day -- gathered.

Patterson said at least one witness saw one of the suspects leaning out the window of the minivan. The suspect pointed an AK-47 over the van's roof and fired into the crowd. Officers in the area investigating the Galveston shooting heard reports of the multiple gunshots, arrived and began chasing the minivan. Patterson said that someone in the van threw the AK-47 and that it hit the police car's windshield. Authorities later recovered the weapon.

Police stopped the van in an alley in the 600 block of Atlantic and Yuma streets SE. Three people jumped out on the driver's side, and one jumped out on the passenger side.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company