Matilda Nesbitt, a 35-year-old mother of five children, often played bingo at Holy Name Catholic School in Northeast Washington on either Tuesday or Thursday night.
Late last Thursday, she and a woman friend left the school about 10 p.m. after playing the game. They headed toward a bus stop near Eighth and L street NE. About three blocks from the school, the two were attacked from behind by two men.
Nesbitt was shot once in the head. An hour later, she died at D.C. General Hospital. The other woman was unhurt, probably because her screams frightened off the assailants.
"It's a totally senseless killing," said Lt. Kenneth Winters of the D.C. homicide squad.
Police said Nesbitt was killed during an apparent robbery. However, the killers did not get much money.
According to a friend, Nesbitt's purse was found next to the body. It still contained some of the $25 she had won playing bingo.
"It's a shame," said Inez Drummond, Nesbitt's friend. "That [the killing] just shows how bad society is."
Police said the two assailants said nothing to the women.
"If they had asked for money, this woman would probably have given it to them," said one investigator.
Moments after Nesbitt was shot, her companion began screaming. Police speculated that the killers panicked and fled, saving the second woman, whom police refused to identify, from injury. Police believe the quick flight prevented a search of Nesbitt's purse.
"It's very upsetting," said Father Ralph Bucksell of Holy Name Church.
Bucksell said a parishioner had been mugged a couple of nights earlier in the neighborhood. "It's rough. Our people aren't safe to walk the street."
The church and school are off Florida Avenue near H Street, a popular hangout for drug addicts. Two-story row houses line the streets. The shooting occurred in the 800 block L Street NW.
Bucksell said Nesbitt was not a parishioner at his church.
Inez Drummond, Nesbitt's friend, said Nesbitt played bingo regularly as a hobby.
She said Nesbitt is separated from her husband, and lived with her five children in Southeast Washington. Nesbitt sang with a local gospel group.
"She [Nesbitt] was a good person." Drummond said.