After almost three years of litigation, a group of about 80 upper Northwest Washington residents has settled -- for $8,900 -- its suit against the families of three juveniles who were charged with vandalizing 175 cars in a BB-gun-shooting spree on Easter Monday, 1982.

Robert C. Zimmer, one of the attorneys handling the class-action suit, said the plaintiffs settled out of court and the money will be divided to pay repair costs not covered by automobile insurance.

It's not much money per person, Zimmer agreed, but, "There was a principle involved. The juvenile court system does not provide restitution."

Zimmer, whose Mercedes-Benz was damaged in the BB incident, charged no fee for handling the suit.

On April 11, 1982, D.C. police arrested three boys, two aged 16 and one 15, and charged them with destroying property and possessing prohibited weapons. The youths, who were said to attend the same private school in Northwest, were accused of going on a late night shooting spree with a BB gun in which 175 parked cars in the Spring Valley and Tenley Circle areas were damaged, most with broken windows.

The youths were scheduled for a hearing on the charges in the summer of 1982, but because of the confidentiality rules of the Juvenile Court, no one involved in the case has divulged the outcome.

Both Zimmer and James J. Bierbower, an attorney representing two of the boys, described the road to settlement of the lawsuit as extremely difficult.