A shooting that left a 15-year-old girl dead over the weekend was a targeted attack directed at someone else in the car, D.C. police said yesterday.
"As far as motive, this was not a random act of violence," said Lt. David Jackson of the violent crimes unit.
Myesha Lowe was fatally wounded as she sat in a car Saturday night in Northeast. Two other occupants, both adult women, were not wounded, police said.
The shooting took the life of a studious 15-year-old girl who was participating in an enrichment program designed to help her get into college. She was the 17th juvenile killed in the District this year, five more than in all of 2003.
Police released few new details yesterday about the shooting, which occurred about 11:45 p.m. in the 1400 block of F Street NE, a normally quiet neighborhood of rowhouses, where parents pushed strollers and children rode bicycles yesterday.
Investigators said they were trying to determine whether the assailants approached the car on foot or opened fire as they drove past. In either case, police said, the assailants were not aiming at Myesha.
Rather, investigators said they believe the gunmen were targeting one of the women in the car or a man who normally drives the vehicle. They declined to release details.
"We still have a ways to go," Jackson said, urging anyone with information to call police at 202-727-9099. Officials are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect.
Jackson said police are seeking a black Ford Crown Victoria that was seen leaving the shooting scene with three people in it. The Crown Victoria might have been a former police car, authorities said.
Myesha's mother, Francine Lowe, said yesterday that she wants those responsible for her daughter's death to turn themselves in to authorities.
"I want to know what happened," Lowe said. "I want the person who did this to be arrested and to pay for what he did."
Lowe and other family members were making funeral arrangements yesterday and struggling to deal with the loss of a promising student who dreamed of going to college. Lowe said that she was going shopping yesterday afternoon for the perfect dress for her daughter to wear.
"This is still a shock to me," Lowe said. "I don't have many words to say."
Myesha was killed a day before she was supposed to go on a group trip to Niagara Falls. She was taking part in the Trinity College Upward Bound Program, which is designed to help low-income high school students prepare for future studies.
Lowe said people in the neighborhood were discussing possible motives and suspects, but she had heard nothing about the investigation's progress from police.
Myesha's killing was the latest of a juvenile in the District.
Last week, David McMorris, 16, was gunned down on Georgia Avenue in Northwest. This month, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old were shot to death while standing with friends in Southeast. In May, Chelsea Cromartie, 8, was killed by a stray bullet that pierced the window of a house in Northeast Washington.
After each shooting, officials and police have scrambled to make arrests but have been unable to staunch the bloodshed.
They also cannot explain why juvenile homicides have spiked while overall killings have declined. This year, the District is on pace to record its lowest annual homicide total in nearly two decades.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said that the killing signaled that District residents need to take more action to stop juvenile violence.
"I can't put a cop on every corner," said Williams, who returned to the District from the Democratic National Convention in Boston to attend the funeral of a District employee yesterday. "All of us have to take a role in this."
Staff writer Nicole Fuller contributed to this report.