For Anthony Eugene Morrisey, the violent end came yesterday morning on a sloping asphalt path leading to the rear of the East Capitol Dwellings in Southeast Washington.
It was shortly after 2:30 a.m., more than four hours after his parents received a call from a person demanding $20,000 in cash and, according to a police source, a kilogram of cocaine.
The 20-year-old Morrisey was led to a spot beneath a large tree and about three feet from a chain-link fence. Residents said they heard three shots in succession, and police said one of them struck Morrisey in the back of the head.
Many details of the case remained unknown yesterday, including why Morrisey was kidnapped, who his captors were and why he was ultimately executed.
Police released no information, aside from Morrisey's name and the time and location of the incident.
But based on a brief conversation with Morrisey's mother and information from a police source, this much is clear:
About 10 p.m., Morrisey's father, Frank, received a call from someone who said Anthony was being held. The mother, who did not provide her name during a brief telephone interview with The Washington Post, said the person on the other end of the line asked for $20,000.
She said the instructions were to drop off the money at 12:30 a.m. in a playground in Southeast Washington. The police source said the demand also included delivery of a kilogram of cocaine.
Frank Morrisey called the police shortly after he received the call. His wife said police were "very slow in responding," and it was past midnight when her husband and the police left for the prearranged drop.
It could not be learned whether they had the money and drugs.
The police source said officers set up surveillance at a playground at Evans Junior High School, about a block from the scene of the shooting.
Several hours later, the officers on surveillance heard there had been a shooting nearby, the source said. Later, they learned it had been Anthony Morrisey.
Mrs. Morrisey said she was baffled by the kidnapping and by her son's execution. She declined to discuss the demand for drugs made by the kidnappers.
"We have no idea why, regardless of what people are saying. We have no idea why it happened," she said.
However, Mrs. Morrisey said her son might still be alive if the police had "acted a little more prudently."
The execution immediately became a sensitive issue for the department, and police officials declined to comment. "This investigation is very sensitive in that it was a kidnapping and a homicide," said Lt. Reginald Smith, the department's spokesman.
The Morriseys live on the 1000 block of Quebec Place NW, a well-kept block of attached homes. Anthony has an older brother, one neighbor said, and both children were well liked.
"Just good, outstanding, uprighteous children," said the neighbor, who asked that her name not be used. "I never heard anyone say a derogatory thing about them." Staff writer Sari Horwitz contributed to this report.