3 Employees Killed At D.C. Starbucks
By Steve Vogel and Cheryl W. Thompson
Three employees of a Starbucks coffee store near Georgetown were found brutally slain yesterday morning, sending shock waves through a community generally immune from such violence.
The bodies of night manager Mary Caitrin Mahoney, 25, Emory Allen Evans, 25, and Aaron David Goodrich, 18, were found at 5:15 a.m. in a back room of the store at 1810 Wisconsin Ave. NW, in Burleith, just north of Georgetown, police said. An employee arriving for work found the bodies. All three had been shot several times.
The distraught employee ran from the store and flagged down a passing Metro bus, screaming that people had been shot, according to a police supervisor. The driver of the bus notified police.
Evans started working at the store part time about three weeks ago, and Goodrich had been hired several months ago, friends and relatives said.
No money was taken from the store, police said.
A police source at the scene said detectives were working "a solid lead" and examining whether a former employee might be involved. "We are definitely checking that out," he said.
In response to the slayings, an official for Starbucks announced that security guards have been added to several local stores for an indefinite period.
Police believe the slayings took place about the time the store closed at 8 p.m. Sunday. Several bullet casings were recovered at the scene but no weapon was found, according to a homicide detective.
Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive of Starbucks Coffee Co., the Seattle-based chain, broke off a vacation and flew to Washington on a chartered jet, said Dean Torrenga, Starbucks regional director for the mid-Atlantic region. Schultz met with employees from the Wisconsin Avenue store. He is planning to remain in the area indefinitely.
Starbucks has 62 stores in the Washington area, including 10 in the city, said company spokesman David Schwab. The Wisconsin Avenue store has been open since the summer of 1994.
The slayings were the first for the chain, which has more than 1,200 locations around the world, Torrenga said.
D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) described the killings as "horrible."
"To have a triple homicide anywhere in the District of Columbia is an unusual event," said Evans, who represents the Georgetown area on the council. "To have a triple homicide in Georgetown is extraordinary. Georgetown has never been a place where crime has been a problem."
Jim Mauro, a resident of the Burleith neighborhood and a daily visitor to Starbucks, said the lights to the store were on when he passed by about 10 p.m. Sunday.
"I remember remarking that they were still open, and I was surprised," he said, adding that the store typically is dark after 8 p.m. on Sundays.
Homicide detectives and crime technicians pored over the scene for hours after the bodies were found, working inside and outside the building adorned with the familiar green-and-black Starbucks logo. They dusted doors for fingerprints, searched the store and talked with residents, hoping to piece together what happened.
A dozen blue-uniformed police recruits were bused to the scene yesterday morning to look for evidence outside the split-level, brown brick store.
Mahoney's silver 1994 Saturn sat alone in the parking lot adjacent to Starbucks, where she had left it the day before. The only possible indication that something had gone awry was a flat tire on the front passenger side of the car. Inside, the car was spotless, save for what looked like signs that Mahoney had recently spent time playing with a pet a dirty tennis ball, a plastic chew toy, a dog's brush and a red towel.
Mahoney's grandmother had recently bought the car for her so she would be safer in the city.
"She was brave," her mother, Mary Belle Annenberg, said during a telephone interview from the family's home in Baltimore. "She did not want to live [her life] afraid."
As a young girl, Mahoney would check for the "bogyman" to make sure it was safe for her older brother, Patrick, to go upstairs to his bedroom.
While a high school student at McDonogh Preparatory School in Pikesville, Md., she traveled to the Soviet Union as a foreign exchange student.
And when she moved to Washington several years ago, she would jog alone an hour before daybreak, never worrying about being attacked or assaulted.
"Caity was special," her mother said. "She had an enormous heart. She probably would have compassion for the person who killed her."
Mahoney, who lived in Northwest Washington, was the youngest of three children and was looking forward to celebrating her 26th birthday July 22. She adored animals, particularly horses, and even took in Marlu, her sister Molly's toothless black-and-white alley cat.
Mahoney attended Fordham University and Ithaca College in New York before graduating with honors from Towson State University, near Baltimore. A loyal and active Democrat, she interned for President Clinton when he was first elected, arranging tours at the White House, her mother said.
But it was her managerial job at Starbucks that really excited her, her family said. She had been employed by the company for two years and enjoyed being the manager. She was often seen sweeping the sidewalk in front of the store.
What she didn't enjoy, though, was disciplining employees, her mother said, particularly one Mahoney recently dismissed for allegedly stealing several hundred dollars.
"She struggled with the issue before having to fire him," her mother said.
Last month, Mahoney was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her brother, and she spent the Fourth of July watching fireworks with her family in Baltimore.
"I hugged her goodbye," said her stepfather, Barnet Annenberg, who had raised Mahoney since she was 6 years old. "That was the last time I saw her.
"That's a heck of a way for a kid to go out of this world. She wasn't even in the prime of her life yet."
Emory Evans, who lived in Northeast Washington, worked part time at Starbucks. He was hired three weeks ago and had hoped to save enough money to attend Howard University, where he wanted to major in music.
"When he didn't come home from work [Sunday night], I got worried," said his father, David. "And then I heard about the shootings and I knew something was wrong. It turned out to be my son."
The six-foot-tall Evans, an only child, moved to Washington about 18 months ago from New Jersey. He was a graduate of Vineland (N.J.) High School and loved playing the horn.
"He was trying to do the right thing," his father said. "He was a very nice kid who was just trying to make extra money."
Aaron Goodrich, 18, was described as a "nice young man" by the people who worked in the building in Northwest Washington where he shared an apartment with his father, Larry.
"They're very close," said Marge Kelsey, a family friend. "He's just unbelievably proud of his son."
The father and son recently returned from a beach vacation, Kelsey said. And it was the youth's father who helped him get the Starbucks job several months ago, she said.
"His son meant everything to him," Kelsey said.
Two Starbucks employees who arrived at the store yesterday morning wept from across the street as the first body was loaded into the D.C. medical examiner's van.
Jillian Newton worked the noon-to-5 shift Sunday at Starbucks. She said Sunday is usually one of the store's busiest days.
"Throughout the day, there were probably 10 people working, and there are always three people who close the store," Newton said.
Wisconsin Avenue, normally a bustling commuter route, was closed in both directions at R and 34th streets until nearly noon yesterday as police continued their investigation. The Metro bus flagged down by the Starbucks employee sat on the street throughout the morning.
Rebecca Sinderbrand, the advisory neighborhood commissioner for the Burleith neighborhood, said she was a frequent customer at the coffee shop.
"It is a great meeting place," said the 20-year-old Georgetown University student. "Everyone knows Starbucks. I'd meet people there for ANC business or whatever."
The 1800 block of Wisconsin includes a variety of shops, including hair salons and a pottery store. Although there is continual pedestrian and car traffic, the block is fairly quiet on Sunday evenings, neighbors said.
There is normally little crime in the area, although there was a spate of armed robberies last summer, police said.
Several businesses were open when the Starbucks closed Sunday evening, including a Safeway food store and a bagel shop across the street.
The Starbucks store is popular both with residents of upper Georgetown as well as drivers on Wisconsin Avenue.
"They get a big crowd in the morning," Mauro said. "A lot of people commuting stop in. This is very, very sad stuff."
Staff writers Janina de Guzman, Jennifer Ordon~ez and Linda Wheeler contributed to this report.
© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company