D.C. homicide investigators have several suspects in the execution-style slaying of Anthony Eugene Morrisey, who was kidnapped and held for ransom by suspected drug dealers on Thursday, police sources said yesterday.
The investigation, a source said, is focusing on an acquaintance of Morrisey's who was recently released from prison and who police believe may have orchestrated the kidnapping.
Police officials declined for the second day to provide any details, citing the continuing investigation. The case has become a sensitive one for the department because detectives became involved in it apparently hours before Morrisey died, and the manner in which the incident was handled has resulted in an internal inquiry, sources said.
Morrisey was gunned down early Thursday morning, police said, on a sloping asphalt path leading to the rear of the East Capitol Dwellings in Southeast Washington.
Yesterday, Morrisey's family provided more details on the kidnapping, revealing that detectives have a tape-recorded conversation of the ransom demand and again insisting that the department bungled the case.
Police sources said Thursday the kidnappers demanded $20,000 in cash and a kilogram of cocaine from Morrisey's family. Morrisey, 20, was the target, one source said yesterday, because he was involved with drugs and had the money. Family members again denied that was the case and said the tape-recorded conversation will prove them right. The repeated references to drugs, they said, have compounded the tragedy.
"My father was only asked for $20,000, and the police told him to say he could only get $10,000," said Anthony Morrisey's sister, Evangeline.
"There won't be any drugs on the tape, nowhere," said the victim's father, Frank Morrisey.
Family members said they learned that Anthony had been kidnapped Wednesday night from a friend of Anthony's , who went to the family's home in the 1000 block of Quebec Place NW to deliver the ransom demand.
Frank Morrisey called police at 10 p.m.
"He had a difficult time getting the police to believe it was a serious situation. They suggested he file a missing persons report," said Evangeline.
What happened next will be the focus of the police investigation, but the following account emerged in interviews with the Morrisey family yesterday:
Anthony's friend gave the Morriseys a telephone number and told them to call at 11 p.m. At that time, the friend told the family, they would be told where to drop off the ransom.
Five detectives with recording equipment arrived at the Morrisey family's house between 10 and 11 p.m. But the call was not placed until 11:20 p.m., despite Frank Morrisey's insistence that the kidnappers meant business.
With the detectives standing by, Frank Morrisey placed the call and he and the kidnappers discussed where the ransom would be dropped off.
After some dispute -- one site was dismissed by the detectives because the area was too dark -- both sides agreed to meet at 12:30 a.m. at Evans Junior High School on 58th and East Capitol streets SE.
The plan was to have a detective switch hats with Frank Morrisey and then take his place at the drop site, according to Evangeline and Frank Morrisey.
But the group did not leave the Morrisey house until midnight, and then they drove to 6th District headquarters and remained there until after 1:30 a.m., family members said.
"My father was protesting. The person said the money had to be there by a particular time, and it was past that time," said Evangeline.
About 1:45 a.m., Frank Morrisey got into a patrol car, apparently to drive to the scene. But on the way, he heard about a shooting on 58th Street, just two blocks away from where the ransom was supposed to be dropped.
"Most likely, they killed my son," he said he remembered telling the officers in the squad car. "They didn't pay no mind. We went on to headquarters."
Morrisey was found by other officers outside the East Capitol Dwellings in the unit block of 58th Street SE. The playground where the ransom drop was to have taken place was under surveillance, but police would not say when they learned that the shooting victim was Morrisey.
A source familiar with the police inquiry said detectives in the robbery unit, which investigates kidnappings, did not inform others in the department.
That fact, and the manner in which investigators handled developments throughout the night and into Thursday morning, is the focus of the internal inquiry, one source said.