Gang Member Dies After Scuffle, Shooting

A barroom scrap between two neighborhood gangs that turned into a gun battle Sunday night in Columbia Heights became a homicide yesterday, police said.

An 18-year-old, who was shot in the head about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, died yesterday at Howard University Hospital, said Cmdr. Jose Acosta, of the 3rd Police District.

The teenager's identity has not been released because his family has not been notified, the medical examiner's office said. He was one of four people shot in an incident in the 1300 block of Fairmont Street NW, authorities said.

The fight began as a scuffle at the Kaffa House on U Street, Acosta said. It was a typical clash between the Hobart Crew and the Fairmont Crew, neighborhood gangs well known to 3rd District investigators, he said.

The antagonists left the area and met up again on Fairmont Street, where words escalated to gunplay. Within minutes, four people were down, police said.

Two people, a 30-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man, left the scene in a car and were treated and released for graze wounds at a hospital late Sunday. The two will not be charged in the shootings, police said, but they were not casual observers. "There were no innocent bystanders involved in this fight," Acosta said.

Also, a 21-year-old Maryland man who was shot in the knee remained in a hospital yesterday. He is under police protection, investigators said. None of the wounded victims' names will be released because they are witnesses to a homicide, police said.

Investigators have not made arrests in the case, but they do have suspects, Acosta said.


A Crackdown on New Year's Gunplay

Baltimore police seized 122 guns and arrested 100 people over New Year's weekend in a citywide crackdown prompted by complaints about celebratory gunfire in previous years.

Police officials said many of those arrested were caught while shooting in the air or at buildings during the first minutes of 2000. Other arrests resulted from tips that officers received in December. Most of the weapons seized were handguns, but a few rifles also were confiscated.

All of those arrested were charged with violating Baltimore's prohibition on firing a gun within city limits, police said. Some also will face reckless endangerment charges, officials said. No one was hurt by the gunfire, they said.


Man Charged With Shooting at House

A 26-year-old Fairfax County man thought he was pointing his 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun at the ground when he fired off a few rounds in his yard to celebrate the new year, apparently not realizing the gun was pointed at a neighbor's house, police said.

The neighbor told officers that he thought he heard gunfire outside a few minutes into Saturday morning. As he went to his front door to investigate, pieces of drywall exploded around him, he said. The occupants of the house then took cover in a back room and called the police.

Jose A. Quintanilla, of the 3100 block of Graham Road in the Falls Church section of the county, was charged with discharging a firearm at a dwelling. No one was injured in the incident.

Man Accused of Fondling Girl, 4

A Fairfax County man has been charged with fondling a 4-year-old girl at her home in Lincolnia last week.

Aldama A. Nelson, 19, was charged with one count of aggravated sexual battery. He was being held at the Adult Detention Center in lieu of $10,000 bond, police said. The incident occurred Dec. 29 at the girl's home on Frenchmens Drive.