The violent death of Deborah Ann Davis last week in a parking lot in Southeast Washington came just hours after she testified for the prosecution in an armed robbery case, members of her family said yesterday.
It was a tragic end to an ordeal that began last month for Davis, a cousin of D.C. Police Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr.'s. She had been kidnapped June 26 by two men who were suspects in the robbery, said Lt. Robert W. Hisamoto, spokesman for the Maryland-National Capital Park Police.
The suspects took her to a park in Chillum, where she was stabbed, shot and left for dead, Hisamoto said. But the 38-year-old Davis managed to crawl about 50 feet to a nearby house for help, Hisamoto said.
Last Thursday night, Davis was not so fortunate.
D.C. police said that about 10:45 p.m. Thursday they found Davis's body in a parking lot at 12th and G streets SE next to a Salvation Army center and in front of the Potomac Gardens housing complex. Witnesses said they heard several gunshots and saw a man running west on G Street immediately after the shooting.
Davis's mother, Sarah Prince, said yesterday that she was told by the police that her daughter fell after being shot in the arm. Her assailant then fired at her face at close range.
"She didn't have a chance," said Prince, Fulwood's aunt, who was visited at her home in the District yesterday by several relatives.
Authorities said yesterday that they didn't have details concerning the robbery about which she testified. Judy Smith, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office here, said yesterday that she couldn't provide details about whether Davis had testified, or in what court.
Davis, the mother of six children, lived in the 1200 block of Holbrook Terrace NE. She grew up on Capitol Hill and attended Hine Junior High School and Eastern High School. Her relatives said that since then she has held night jobs from time to time.
Prince described her daughter as "fun-loving and very family-oriented," but she said she knew her daughter had another side.
"She traveled in the fast lane," Prince said. "She associated with some rough people."
"She really loved her kids," said Gregory Davis, her younger brother. "And people looked to her to cheer them up. We're outraged and sad about this."
Hisamoto said the two men against whom Davis was scheduled to testify in the D.C. armed robbery case allegedly picked her up in the early morning hours of June 26. The men drove Davis to Avondale Park in the 4900 block of LaSalle Avenue in Chillum, he said. When Davis tried to flee, they chased her, stabbed her and shot her, Hisamoto said.
After she crawled to safety, Davis was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where she recovered from the attack.
The park police issued warrants, based on Davis's statements, charging Freddie Artis, 30, and Edward Leroy Huff, 24, both of Southeast Washington, with attempted murder and assault with intent to murder in connection with the incident.
Artis was arrested on the warrant on June 28 at a house at 19th and Q streets SE. Huff is still at large. Hisamoto said that Artis's bond on the previous armed robbery charge was revoked and that he was being held at the D.C. Jail.
Lt. Reginald Smith, a D.C. police spokesman, said he didn't know the details of this case, but said, "Violence and substance abuse has touched each and every family one way or another."
Fulwood was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.
Davis's 20-year-old son, James, said that when he visited his mother in the hospital as she recovered from the June attack, she told him that it had been a "fight" to live through her assault, and that "she was thankful to see me again."
Prince said that Davis called her Wednesday night and told her that she believed she was in danger. "All she told me was that 'they're going to get me,' " Prince said. "These were vicious people who she was dealing with."