Sheral Ann Gwynn crawled into bed about 10:30 Sunday night and turned on her side, her back toward the window eight feet away. Clyde W. Malory, her husband, lay next to her in the bedroom of their apartment on 54th Avenue in Riverdale.
Gwynn, a 40-year-old mother of three, clicked off the remote control on the television. Seconds later, the glass in the bedroom window shattered and the barrel of a shotgun pushed through the Venetian blinds.
Malory said later he saw the blue smoke and felt the heat of the shotgun blast as it whizzed across his chest. He could not recall whether he heard it.
Malory said he dove across the bed and rolled with Gwynn to the floor, screaming, "Where's my gun?"
Gwynn said nothing. And when Malory rose, his arms and chest were covered with her blood. Malory said he instinctively upended the mattress against the window to stop further gunfire, but by then the assailant was gone and Gwynn lay dying, shot in the back. Police, who confirmed that Gwynn was shot while lying in bed, said she was pronounced dead at Prince George's Hospital Center.
"Sheral didn't do nothing to deserve this," Malory said. "They were aiming at me. And I don't know why they couldn't have just waited until I came outside."
Standing in the bedroom, Gwynn's sisters and brother sobbing softly, the broken glass of the window still on the sill, Malory yesterday pulled a chrome-plated handgun out of his waistband and tossed it onto the bloodstained sheet. A shotgun blast killed Gwynn, but Malory said it's possible that two bullets fired from his snub-nosed revolver led, indirectly, to her death.
Shortly after noon on Friday, Malory said, he saw three youths in their late teens walking two pit bull terriers near Jefferson Street and 54th Avenue. Words were exchanged, Malory said, and the youths followed him to his apartment complex.
"They asked me what I was looking at," Malory said. "I said, 'Nothing, man.' They thought they could scare me with the pit bulls."
One of the teenagers left and returned with a large stick, Malory said. When a second youth tried to grab his lawn chair, Malory said, he drew his gun and fired two shots into the ground. The youths ran.
Malory is convinced at least one of them returned and killed his wife.
Yesterday, he studied the damage in the bedroom, trying to trace the trajectory of the shotgun blast. The corner of the window, a mere three feet from where his head had lain, was broken, the screen ripped, the pink curtain torn, the sheet shreaded by the pellets and stained with Gwynn's blood.
"They must have pointed the gun high like this," Malory said.
A few more inches to the right and the barrel would have been pointed at Malory's pillow. He said he wished that it had been.