A teenager was killed and three other males were critically wounded last night in a shooting within sight of the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro station in Northwest Washington, authorities said. Dozens of people, including commuters emerging from the station, witnessed the violence, police said.
Two men walked along Georgia Avenue just north of Quincy Street NW about 9:30 p.m. and opened fire, an official said. The official said family members of the teenager told police he was 16 and had moved to the District from Pennsylvania about a month ago to live with relatives.
The victim's body, with gunshot wounds to the chest, lay on the sidewalk in front of several storefronts along Georgia Avenue, within a block of the Metro station, an hour and a half after the shooting.
"This is Georgia and New Hampshire [avenues]. That takes a lot of nerve to shoot four people and think you're going to get away with it," said D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4), who went to the scene.
Police were interviewing two people they described as "people of interest," but they said they had not determined a motive for the shootings. Area residents said drug sales are common.
"Drugs are very prevalent. It's one of the major hangouts," said Peron Williams, the advisory neighborhood commissioner for the area.
Early today, Lt. David Jackson said that among the scenarios police were investigating was the possibility that the shooters fled by foot and then jumped into a van.
"The area was crowded with people at the time," Jackson said. "When the shooting started, there was a lot of running; there [were] a lot of vehicles" in the area.
The victims appeared to be in their late teens or early twenties, officials said. One man was shot in the neck, and another suffered a wound to his back. The third wounded man was shot in the buttocks.
Police did not identify the victims last night. They were transported to a local hospital and admitted in critical but stable condition, police said.
"It's just another tragic shooting, and we're doing all we can to get the people responsible," said D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who was at the scene.
Police said that about 10 witnesses were providing details last night.
"A number of witnesses came forward; this is a good community," Cmdr. Mark Beach said.
Upon arriving, police sealed off surrounding streets and saturated the area with about 50 officers and police dogs. A helicopter hovered overhead. Pedestrians were prohibited from entering the Metro station.
The shooting occurred along a stretch of Georgia Avenue that has seen upsurges in property values after the opening of the Metro station about five years ago. About 100 units of housing and other developments are expected to break ground within a year.
But the Petworth area has seen sporadic outbursts of violence in recent months, prompting increased police attention through the spring.
In January, on the holiday celebrating the life of nonviolence led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a 17-year-old male was killed and two other males were injured when they were shot in a car on Shepherd Street NW. In May, a 12-year-old girl was seriously wounded when she was hit by a stray bullet at Shepherd Street and Illinois Avenue NW. Police said the girl probably got caught in a feud between rival drug groups.
Last night, Fenty said that for the past three months, he and residents have told police about increased drug activity near the location of the shooting. Fenty said this was the first shooting on Georgia Avenue since November 2000.
"This drug spot was obvious. You can't allow it to fester like that," Fenty said. "They even have chairs set up; they just sit out there."
Staff writer Raymund Flandez contributed to this report.