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 weeks ago, Antoine Holroyd was cruising west on a bus, to the mountains and deserts of New Mexico. It was the 17-year-old's first trip outside of the Washington area, and he told his mother and sister that he couldn't believe the beauty and vastness of the world outside the Beltway.

Within two days of returning from the trip sponsored by a local youth program, Holroyd and a close friend were slain, gunned down in the middle of a drab apartment complex in Anacostia.

"He said he couldn't believe how much was out there, that there was more out there than he ever thought," said Holroyd's sister, Catherine Holroyd, 23. "But the first moment he was back, he had to return" to his old neighborhood.

Yesterday, family members struggled to cope with the killings of two youths and wounding of three others on a Southeast street about 1:15 a.m. Sunday. Police officials said they had no suspects and few leads.

Holroyd and his best friend, Michael E. Simms, 16, were standing with three other young men in the 2900 block of Pomeroy Road when two men approached and at least one of them opened fire with a handgun, police said.

Simms and Holroyd were killed. The others, a 22-year-old and two 17-year-olds whose names were not released because they are witnesses, suffered injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, authorities said.

The assailants jumped into a dark-colored SUV after the shooting and drove away, police said.

Although the city is on track to record fewer than 200 homicides this year, a mark not reached in nearly two decades of extreme street violence, it has seen a spike in slayings of those under 18. Through yesterday, 15 juveniles have been slain in the District this year, three more than in all of 2003.

Among this year's high-profile killings were the shooting of a 17-year-old student inside Ballou Senior High School and the slaying of an 8-year-old girl who was struck by a stray bullet that pierced the window of a home in Northeast Washington.

Holroyd's relatives said yesterday that they could not think of any reason someone would shoot the group of friends. Family members said the boys were not involved in gangs or drugs. Simms had just finished 10th grade at Ballou Senior High School, where he played junior varsity football, relatives have said.

"They weren't bad people at all," Catherine Holroyd said. "They weren't drug dealers or gang bangers. It wasn't like they did anything to deserve this."

Holroyd's death was all the more tragic, relatives said, because he had recently changed schools and moved with his family to get away from violence and trouble. His new home was about two miles from his old neighborhood, the apartment complex where the shooting occurred.

Last year, Holroyd left Ballou Senior High School and enrolled in New School for Enterprise and Development, a charter school in Northeast Washington. He had just finished 11th grade, relatives said.

Holroyd had been eagerly planning his graduation, prom and career as a basketball coach or even a comedian. Family members said he was always cracking jokes.

"He always had a smile on his face," said his mother, Annette Holroyd. "He was always funny, joking."

Holroyd, who family members said was 17 but police identified as being 18, also had a serious side.

He pored over newspaper accounts of local killings, particularly those of other teenagers. And, over the years, he had built up a collection of T-shirts that memorialized the teenagers. Each has a photograph of the slain youth and a few kind words in the victim's memory.

Yesterday, family members said they were having T-shirts made in Holroyd's honor.

Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.

Gerard White cries near a memorial to his cousin Michael E. Simms, who was shot to death Sunday morning with his best friend, Antoine Holroyd. Antoine Holroyd's mother, Annette, talks to friends and family members, including her sister, Evelyn Mitchell, left, and boyfriend Reginald Kidd.