A member of an eviction crew was shot and killed yesterday as his team, along with two deputy U.S. marshals, tried to evict a family from a Northwest Washington home.
Donald Granderson Jr., 24, of 2911 Seventh St. SE, was dead on arrival at the MedStar Unit of the Washington Hospital Center about 1 1/2 hours after the 1 p.m. shooting, police said. Police said Granderson had been shot once with a rifle and that the bullet traveled through his right shoulder into his heart.
Police charged Johnny Williams, 61, a security guard at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, with homicide. Williams' wife, Mildred, and a son, Bruce, who were in the house with him during the incident, were not charged.
The shooting occurred when the crew from an Arlington eviction company, Inpersonam Service Inc., and the two marshals, William Johnson and Michael Gilden, approached the house at 1529 Spring Pl. NW to evict the Williams family which, according to court documents, had been behind in rent.
Stephanie Voss, who lives across the street from the house where the shooting took place, said that she heard loud knocking at the Williamses' door and looked out her window as the marshals were preparing to remove the front door from its hinges. A shot rang out and, as Granderson slumped to the ground wounded, Voss said another member of the moving crew yelled, "He's been shot! He's dead."
Police said the rifle shot that hit Granderson was fired through the home's front door.
One marshal pulled Granderson off the lawn while another radioed for help, said Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Daniel Wigfall.
Minutes later, D.C. police in flak jackets surrounded the three-story brick row house as a police helicopter circled overhead. The neighborhood between 14th and 16th streets NW was cordoned off during the incident.
At 4:40 p.m., more than three hours after the shooting, someone waved a white handkerchief from the door. Williams, his wife and a son then walked outside with their hands in the air.
Yesterday, Granderson's father, Donald Granderson Sr., said his son had been working for the moving company for about six or seven months after quitting a job at a barber shop where he had a disagreement with the owner about working on Saturdays.
"Everybody seemed to like him," said Granderson, who added that his son, one of 10 children, had graduated from Chamberlain Vocational High School in the District where he had studied barbering. "He never gave me any trouble. He was always ready to help anyone."
Granderson said a second son, Byron, was a member of the eviction crew at the scene yesterday. It was Byron's first day of work and he saw his brother shot, the father said.
According to D.C. Superior Court documents, Johnny and Mildred Williams were ordered to vacate the premises because of nonpayment of their monthly rent of $325. Court papers show that the Williams failed to appear at a hearing Jan. 21 in Landlord and Tenant Court. When they did not appear, a default judgment was entered authorizing the landlord, R. A. Walker & Associates Inc., to take possession of the property.
On Jan. 27, the landlord authorized U.S. marshals to evict the occupants. The first authorization expired before the tenants were evicted. A second writ was issued March 7.
A spokesman for the Naval Medical Center said last night that Williams had been employed there as an unarmed security guard for about 6 years and had worked for two years previously in the hospital laundry. Lt. Cmdr. Ronald Arrison said Williams had no arrest authority at the hospital and that his chief duties involved traffic control and outdoor security. "To the best of my knowledge, he was a good employe," Arrison said.
James Cotton of Glen Arden, Md., a brother-in-law of Mildred Williams, described Williams yesterday as a "very hard-working man" who worked long hours as a security guard and had at least one other part-time job. "All the time, he was trying to make ends meet," Cotton said.
"He's very quiet, very busy, always working at work or around the house," said a next-door neighbor, Bessie Walker.
"It seemed like a very close family," said a neighbor, Willie Williams. "He seemed very fine to the children."
In 1979, Johnny Williams' teen-age son was shot to death in an alley behind their home during a dispute over a basketball game.
A neighbor said yesterday that since the shooting, Williams "hasn't been the same."