In yesterday's edition two shootings that D.C. police suspect were carried out by the same person or persons were incorrectly identified. Police suspect that Paul Dixon, who was slain at 2205 14th St. NW on Feb. 9, and Shahid Turner, who was shot in the same incident, were targets in the shootings
A highly unusual D.C. police task force is investigating at least 30 killings here that authorities believe resulted from an escalating war among drug dealers for control of the city's lucrative heroin traffic.
Police officials said an unusually large supply of heroin is partly to blame for the slayings, essentially creating a buyer's market and drawing rival drug organizations and individual dealers into a deadly struggle for territory.
At the same time, police indicated that increasing numbers of small-time dope dealers and users are being slain for failing to meet financial obligations connected with drug sales. These killings, which are being investigated separately, may have claimed as many as 20 victims, police said.
"People are dropping like flies," said 7th District vice squad Sgt. Charles McGihon. "More and more people are getting involved. The price is going down. People are stepping on each other's toes."
The joint task force of detectives from the police narcotics and homicide units was formed about four months ago and has been investigating deaths during the last year that appear connected to organizational drug warfare.
Officials said the task force--unusual because it combines homicide and narcotics forces, who rarely work together--was established because of a dramatic increase in slayings apparently connected with drug trafficking. Police declined to specify all the cases being investigated or to provide figures showing how the recent rash of killings compares to drug-related violence in the past.
At least 18 of the 33 homicides committed in the District this year remain unsolved. Police have described seven of those as apparently drug-related, although they declined to say whether all seven are under investigation by the task force.
"Right now I feel we have them persons being investigated off balance," said Capt. Jimmy Wilson, head of homicide. "They don't know what we're doing or how we're doing it. All they know is some people are starting to be arrested. We'd like to keep them off balance."
In many cases, Wilson said, police have not confirmed that the slayings resulted from actual drug transactions, although he acknowledged that most of the killings under investigation involved known or suspected drug dealers and users.
Authorities describe the killings as particularly ruthless, carried out in many cases execution-style. Some victims were shot as they sat in their cars, some on sidewalks, others in their apartments. In some cases, authorities said, victims were killed over sums as small as $300 or $400.
"Drug activity breeds violence and territory is claimed and protected by use of force," said 7th District vice investigator Timothy Green. "The life span of a dealer is short, especially if he makes too many enemies. And he's bound to make too many enemies."
Wilson said the investigation has been hampered because potential witnesses fear for their lives and have been reluctant to cooperate with police. And while some arrests have been made, charges against some suspects also have been quickly dropped for lack of evidence, authorities said.
So far, two cases are pending in court as a result of arrests stemming from the investigation.
The only homicide case so far involves Eddie Jerome Mathis, 29, who authorities allege is a "major drug figure" in the city. Mathis is being held pending $500,000 bond in the slayings of three persons in two incidents, as well as a federal weapons charge.
At the time of the killings, Mathis was on parole from Lorton prison after serving three years for various robbery, weapons and assault convictions, according to parole commission records.
On Jan. 28, Mathis was charged with murder in the death of 40-year-old Marx Roscoe Jackson. According to a police report, witnesses said Jackson was shot Sept. 25 by two masked men as he sat in his car at 1931 Ninth St. NW. Authorities said Jackson had a history of drug involvement and that the killing was drug-related. According to court documents, a witness told police that Mathis had threatened Jackson's life in September.
In July, Mathis was charged with second-degree murder in the slayings of Theodore H. Miller, 61, and his son, Timothy, 19. Both were shot execution-style in their apartment at 3432 25th St. SE in what police said was a drug-related incident.
Authorities said cases under investigation by the task force include:
* The Feb. 12 slaying of Andrew Anderson Jr. of Oxon Hill outside an apartment building on the 3900 block of Wheeler Road SE, in the Valley Green public housing development. Authorities allege that Anderson was a leader of the "Black Tape" narcotics organization in Southeast Washington, so called because the organization sells its herion in envelopes sealed with black tape.
Police suspected Anderson of being a primary distributor of hard drugs in the Washington Highlands area. "I don't know how big Anderson was," said Green, "but he was probably about the biggest drug dealer in Southeast Washington."
"Anderson was almost untouchable. He had control of everything up there on the hill," said one 7th District detective. "His word was law. It was hard to get him because he had everybody up there working for him."
* The Sept. 8 death of Glenn E. Bailey, 30, shot in the head and killed on the 2600 block of Firth Sterling Avenue SE. Bailey had a history of drug use, according to parole commission records, and was on parole from Lorton when he was killed. In 1975, he was sentenced to 6 to 18 years for armed robbery and assault with intent to commit robbery. He was released from prison in December 1980.
Police charged James Adell, 26, of 2345 Green St. SE, with second degree murder in Bailey's death. According to court records, Adell had been charged with possession of cocaine in May 1981, but the case was dismissed. On Dec. 15, the day he was arrested, the murder charge against Adell also was dismissed.
Police now suspect that Bailey and Dixon both were the targets of the same assailant or assailants.
* The Feb. 9 slaying of Paul Dixon, who authorities allege was a member of the Black Tape organization operating in Northwest Washington. In what police said was a drug-related shooting, Dixon, 28, was shot once in the head about 6:30 p.m. during an exchange of gunfire with another man at 2205 14th St. NW.
About two hours after Dixon was shot, police arrested Shahid Turner, 20, who in 1980 had been charged with possession of heroin. Turner was taken into custody at D.C. General Hospital, where he was suffering from a bullet wound in the jaw, and charged with first-degree murder. The case was dismissed in D.C. Superior Court the same day.
* The deaths of John W. Taylor, 35, and David R. Wilson, 24, who both were shot about 8:10 p.m. Jan. 14 as they sat in a car at Sixth and O streets NW. According to parole commission records, Taylor had a history of heroin use. Both men were on parole from prison