Fifth suspect arrested in deadly D.C. drive-by shootings

By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A fifth suspect in a deadly drive-by shooting last month in Southeast Washington was arrested Monday and charged with four counts of murder, ending the search for the alleged perpetrators of the most lethal outbreak of violence in the city in years, police said.

"We are very pleased to announce the final arrest in this case," Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said after detectives arrested Jeffrey D. Best, 21, about 9 a.m. Two suspects were arrested the night of the shooting, and two were arrested last week.

"While I know this does not alleviate the pain caused by these heinous acts," Lanier said, "this arrest closes a chapter in this tragedy."

Police initially had said that four people were killed in the drive-by attack, which occurred about 7:30 p.m. March 30 outside a ramshackle tenement in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street SE. But court documents detailing the police investigation, which were made public Friday, say that three victims were slain in the drive-by and that the fourth had been killed minutes earlier in an attempted robbery nearby.

Authorities say that Best and three other men -- Orlando Carter, 20, Nathaniel Simms, 26, and Robert Bost, 22, all of whom are charged with four counts of murder -- were in the rented minivan from which the shots were fired on South Capitol Street. The other man charged in the case, Lamar Williams, 22, is suspected of supplying the guns that were used, authorities say.

Killed in the drive-by attack were DaVaughn Boyd, 18, William Jones III, 19, and Brishell Jones, 16. Five others were wounded. The five suspects are also charged with murder in the death of Tavon Nelson, 17, who was shot minutes before on nearby Galveston Street SW in a bungled attempt to rob him of a handgun, police said.

Police said the drive-by shooting was the final act in a cycle of retaliation touched off by a shooting the week before on Alabama Avenue SE in which Jordan Howe, 20, was killed.

Carter is suspected of participating in Howe's slaying March 22 and has been charged with murder in that case as well. A day after Howe was killed, Carter was wounded in a shooting near Sixth and Chesapeake streets SE. Police said in a court affidavit that Carter suspected that his attacker was someone seeking justice for Howe's killing and that Carter vowed revenge.

Those targeted in the drive-by shooting had been friends of Howe's, police said. Some of them, including the three who were killed, had attended Howe's funeral that day.

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

That day, Orlando Carter was shot and treated for minor wounds to his head and shoulder at Washington Hospital Center. No one has been arrested in that shooting, and Orlando Carter fled the hospital before being discharged.

He was arrested March 30 in connection with the drive-by.

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