A 48-year-old man, apparently making his daily trip to a neighborhood store for a can of beer, was shot several times and killed yesterday afternoon in a busy section of Northeast Washington.
Jonathan Coleman was shot just before 1 p.m. and was dead when emergency crews arrived in the 2500 block of 10th Street NE, just off Rhode Island Avenue, police said. He had collapsed on a sidewalk in front of an apartment building.
The motive for the slaying was unclear, a police spokesman said, and authorities had no immediate suspects.
Coleman's death put the city's homicide total for this year at 223, up nearly 13 percent from last year. Few of those killings have been as brazen as this shooting, taking place on a sunny day a block away from a bustling new shopping center that is a symbol of the area's redevelopment.
Willie Pearl Coleman, Coleman's mother, said her son worked on a truck delivering food to restaurants from the farmers market on Florida Avenue NE. He was the father of two grown children and a teenager.
She said that he was living in her basement in the 1000 block of Douglas Street NE and that he walked home from work as usual yesterday, arriving about noon. Then, she said, he apparently left again without her knowing.
"I thought he was still down there, until somebody knocked on the door," Willie Pearl Coleman said. The man, a stranger, said her son had been shot.
Most days, she said, Jonathan Coleman would buy a beer at a store near 10th and Rhode Island -- where a row of dilapidated shops faces the massive new shopping center anchored by a Giant supermarket and a Home Depot. Then he would walk home to drink the beer, she said.
Police said that a green, older-model Cadillac was seen leaving the shooting scene. Willie Pearl Coleman said she had heard rumors in the neighborhood that her son, who had been called "Pinky" since childhood, was shot from a car.
"I'm quite sure they weren't after him," she said. "He never bothers anyone."