A 21-year-old Washington, D.C., man was arrested today and charged with murder for the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl who was hit in the head by a stray bullet a week ago while watching television in her aunt's home.
Police said they arrested Raashed Hall, a resident of the Northeast Washington neighborhood where the shooting occurred, after receiving a number of tips. Hall was charged with first-degree murder while armed and was being held without bond. [Hall's name was spelled incorrectly in an earlier version of this article.]
The death of Chelsea Cromartie, a third-grader at Bradbury Heights Elementary School, stirred widespread outrage and galvanized the community against what authorities said were senseless acts of violence.
Police said the shooting -- which also left the girl's aunt, Darlene Taper, wounded in the shoulder -- apparently stemmed from an argument over broken car windows. Police in neighboring Prince George's County, Md., today recovered a red Mercury Sable with its windows broken out and turned it over to D.C. police, who were also seeking another vehicle in the case.
Chelsea's death "was a loss for all of us," Mayor Anthony A. Williams said before police announced the arrest in a news briefing. He expressed hope that the public outcry over the killing could be used "as a launching point to bring adults into the lives of these children" who are at risk and "to bring this violence to an end."
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said Hall agreed to surrender after he was contacted by police today. He said the investigation into the shooting was continuing.
Capt. Robert Contee, head of the Metropolitan Police Department's homicide section, said additional arrests in the case are possible.
"This was a senseless act of violence where an individual reacted recklessly," Contee said. "We believe that the person responsible is in our custody at this point. We just ask that citizens continue to assist the police."
Ramsey said the case "really highlights the violence that some of our communities experience in our city." He said that "people have to come forward when crime takes place."
Contee said Hall had come into contact with police twice before on minor charges. He said police do not believe that the shooting stemmed from any dispute between rival gangs, as had been previously theorized.
Hundreds of people turned out Sunday for Chelsea Cromartie's funeral at a Washington church, and many expressed anger over her death. She was the 13th child to be slain in the District so far this year, one more than in all of 2003.
A reward of up to $75,000 was offered for information in the case.