District of Columbia and Prince George's County police charged four young men yesterday in last week's fatal shooting of an off-duty D.C. police officer.
Two of the suspects were arrested in their homes, and a third at Prince George's General Hospital, where he was being treated for a bullet wound. The fourth suspect turned himself in late yesterday morning at D.C. police headquarters. A fifth suspect whom police declined to identify, was still at large.
Capt. Arif H. Mosrie, commander of the D.C. police homicide squad, said one of the suspects, Joe Lynn Wright, 21, of 1504 D St. NE., had been shot in the elbow shortly before arriving at Prince Georges General Hospital Thursday night.
Hospital employes notified Prince Georges County police of Wright's presence, and county police later notified D.C. police, Mosrie said. Another police spokesman added that Wright, who checked into the hospital as "Calvin S. Brown," had been driven there in a car that resembled a getaway car already being sought by police.
The shooting occurred about 7:45 p.m. Thursday, after four men, at least three armed with pistols, entered Jimi's a go-go club at 4801 Georgia Ave. NW and ordered four employes and off-duty officer Bernis Carr Jr., the club's lone customer, to lie on the floor. Carr was fatally shot moments later, apparently when the holdup men recognized him as a police officer, police said. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Washington Hospital Center.
Although police praised the Jimi's employes as helpful witnesses, Mosrie said it was still unclear yesterday what had led to the shooting of Carr, or how he was identified as a police officer. Carr was on his way home from work, however, and wearing part of his uniform under a civilian jacket.
According to other police accounts, Carr, after being identified as an officer, told the gunmen to take his money and that he wouldn't bother them. At that point, one of the robbers cursed Carr and then shot him, police said.
Carr's service revolver, which had discharged twice, was found lying in a pool of blood along with his uniform tie, but police were unable to say yesterday whether Carr had actually fired the weapon.
Police issued a lookout for a tan 1974 or 1975 Dodge or Plymouth Thursday night, and Mosrie said yesterday that the car had been located. "It was a Chrysler product similar to the one that we were looking for," he said.
Mosrie said the four men would be arraigned Monday in Carr's killing, and "we are going to present evidence to the grand jury concerning some other incidents . . . " Earlier, police had compared the Jimi's robbery to two similar holdups, one at the Ebony Hut in the 4800 block of 14th Street NW, and the other at a Chinese carryout on Benning Road NE.
Sze Cheng, a restaurant employe, was fatally shot during the Benning Road robbery on Feb. 9, but police declined to say yesterday they could connect the Jimi's suspects with that incident.
Besides Wright, the men charged in connection with the death of Officer Carr are Gregory E. Williams, 25, of 6333 Landover Rd. in Cheverly; Calvin O. Gorham, 18, of 1365 Kennedy St. NW, and Ricardo Anthony Roberts, 19, of 1224 Southern Ave. SE.
Williams and Gorham were arrested in their homes yesterday morning about 5:15 a.m. Roberts turned himself in shortly after 11 a.m., just as D.C. police had begun a news conference to announce the earlier arrests.
Williams, Gorham and Wright were charged with first degree murder on arrest warrants. Roberts was charged with homicide, the usual D.C. police practice when no warrant has been secured.
Williams, arrested by Prince George's County police, subsequently waived formal extradition procedures, and was brought to D.C. police headquarters. Wright remained under guard at Prince George's General Hospital.
Although Wright's injury and his effort to obtain treatment obviously were keys to yesterday's arrest, Mosrie also credited the work of two D.C. police officers, one assigned to the 4th Police District and one with the Youth Division. "Working separately," he said, they "developed information that led us onto these suspects and then it was just a matter of running out leads and doing the legwork that you have to do."
Gorham's father, Clarence T. Gorham, who owns and manages Ed's Billiards at 4605 14th St. NW, said yesterday that his son was a recent high school graduate who was interested in boxing and singing, and had been looking for work. "He was a good son . . . he was liked by everybody who knew him," said Gorham.
Police had come by his billiards parlor on Friday night, said Gorham. "They said they wanted to talk to Calvin and Greg Williams," he said. But as far as he know, they had not actually contacted his son until yesterday's arrest, he said.
Gorham added that the police "were very nice about what they were doing . . ."
Harriet C. Matthews, who identified herself as the younger Gorham's girlfriend, said she had known him for about a month. "We would shoot pool together and sing together," she said.