Sometime Friday evening, 16-year-old Randy Moskowitz, an editor of the school newspaper at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, went up Prince George's Plaza, presumably to buy a pizza.
But if pizza was on Randy Moskowitz's mind Friday night, proprietors at Mama Lucia's, the preferred eatery among the paper's staff, say Moskowitz never made it. He never made it home, either.
His body was found Saturday morning in a field across from the plaza, riddle with a multiple gunshot wounds.
Yesterday, Prince George's County police were keeping details of the slaying under a tight security wrap. At first unwilling to give even the cause of death, officials would say only that Randy Moskowitz was murdered without any "apparent motive."
Friends and acquaintances expressed dismay yesterday at the slaying.
"I'm so shocked, I don't even know what to think," said Eileen Turner, the newspaper advisor and Moskowitz's journalism and history instructor. "I was just kidding him the other day about how his mother didn't come to 'Back-to-School Night."
Turner and others who knew him well describe Moskowitz as the least likely person to have made any enemies or provoked an attact. "He was one of the sweetest guys I knew," said 16-yea-old Laura Ohler, a senior who has been a teacher's assistant in one of Moskowitz's classes and had befriended him. "He was adorable."
A 16-year-old starting his junior year at Northwestern, Moskowitz apparently charmed the girls he knew with his bright blue eyes, light brown curly hair and courteous manner. But he was not known to be dating anyone, and mostly, friends say, he was a loner.
He spent most of his time working on the school's newspaper. "He just finished changing his schedule," Turner said, "so he could spend second lunch at the paper."
He was the only student on the paper's staff who drove a car (he drove his parents' light blue Pinto from his nearby home on Van Buren Street) and was often the one who was out soliciting advertisers or driving friends home.
Last year, when the paper had run out of funds, he spent a week with editor Eric Manzer reclaiming words and headlines from past issues so the paper could put out a final edition.
His second love -- or perhaps his first -- was computers. He was taking advanced classes in programming and had devised his own program to keep track of the newspaper's accounts.
Over the summer, he took a job working on the computers at the University of Maryland. "He was saving his money to buy a car," Ohler said. "You know how teen-agers are about driving their parents' car."
But despite the hours he spent working in the newspaper offices -- writing articles as well as managing the paper this year -- Moskowitz, from all accounts, was shy.
"He was the kind who didn't make many friends," said Menzer, "but the ones he had were good friends."
He had been teased about being short, friends said. "Also, he was Jewish, and people teased him about that," Manzer said. He wore braces and kept his reading glasses well hidden. "He really hated to wear them" Menzer added.
Even so, Moskowitz did not fear the Lewisdale area where he went to school, and where he was killed, though friends say its reputation around school is formidable. "I wouldn't walk in that neighborhood," said Elizabeth Reeves, a friend of Moskowitz, who had planned to go out with him last night. "I wouldn't go there by myself. And not a night. Lewisdale is not the kind of place to walk round in."
At the time of his death, Moskowitz was working on the paper's next edition. "The strange thing is," said Menzer, "for the next issue he'll have stories on the front page with his byline on them."
Funeral services are scheduled for today.