Based on erroneous information provided by D.C. Police, the name of a youth, 17, who was slain early Sunday in Southeast Washington has been misspelled in several Metro articles. His name is Antwain Holroyd. (Published 7/17/04)
Two teenagers described as best friends were killed yesterday morning when at least one gunman shot five people in Southeast Washington, the latest in a string of deadly violence involving juveniles in the District.
Police said the victims -- four teenagers and a 22-year-old man -- had been walking in the 2900 block of Pomeroy Road about 1:15 a.m. when two men approached on foot and at least one began firing.
Michael E. Simms, 16, and Antoine Holroyd, 18, were pronounced dead at the scene. Simms was shot in the back and Holroyd was shot in the head, according to police and family members.
The other victims, two 17-year-olds and the 22-year-old man, were taken to hospitals with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, police said.
After the shooting, the assailants got into a dark-colored "SUV-like vehicle" driven by a third man, said Lt. David Jackson of the D.C. police department's Violent Crimes Division.
No arrests have been made, and police know of no suspects.
"We are not ruling out some retaliatory action, and we are not ruling out [that] it is one of those neighborhood rivalries," Jackson said. "There was obviously something there, because it was not a random act."
Kecia Simms, Michael Simms's mother, said her son was shot a few hundred yards from the family's home at Park Chester Apartments, near Barry Farm, in the 2600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.
"They were coming to my house," said Simms, 36, adding that her son had a 1 a.m. curfew. "A couple guys were going to spend the night with him, and they all got shot coming into my house."
Simms said one of the victims was her 17-year-old nephew, who was shot in the hand. Police asked that the names of the injured not be released because they are witnesses.
Holroyd's relatives could not be located yesterday. But Simms said that her son, who had just finished his junior year at Ballou Senior High School, and Holroyd, who lived in the 2600 block of Jasper Street SE, were best friends.
She said that her son played junior varsity football at Ballou when he was in the 10th grade. Holroyd, she said, did not attend Ballou. Jackson said he did not know how many of the victims were Ballou students.
In February, a 17-year-old star running back at Ballou was shot at the school during an apparent dispute between two neighborhood gangs.
Simms and several other neighbors, who refused to identify themselves for fear of retribution, said the gunshots yesterday morning sounded as if they came from an automatic weapon.
"It had to be a machine gun, because I know a handgun doesn't have that many bullets," Simms said. Another neighbor described it as "back-to-back shooting."
Jackson said police are trying to determine how many bullets were fired and what type of weapon was used. Police did not know whether Simms, Holroyd or both teenagers were intended targets.
At the crime scene yesterday, teenage girls sobbed as they placed stuffed animals on a nearby fence. A Nissan Maxima with a bullet hole in the passenger window was in front of the memorial.
Neighbors said there has been a history of violence in and around the housing development.
"They try to keep the buildings up, but with the drugs, it is just tearing them apart," said Jerry Jackson, 46, of the 2600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.
Jackson said gunshots behind his apartment several weeks ago forced him to cower on his bedroom floor until he heard police sirens.
"There has been a lot of violence," Simms said. "They got a police officer who is supposed to be around here on duty, but he can't do it all by himself, because the guys out here carry bigger guns than the police."
Simms said her son was not a member of a neighborhood gang.
A feud between rival groups from Barry Farm and the Condon Terrace neighborhood was blamed for February's shooting at Ballou.
Although the city remains on track to record fewer than 200 killings this year, which would be the lowest number since 1987, the number of homicide victims younger than 18 -- at least 14 as of yesterday -- has already surpassed last year's total.