A night and early morning of gunfire in the area left five people dead and four wounded, including a teenage student at Ballou Senior High School who was found shot to death in a stolen car, becoming the 20th juvenile slain in the District this year.
Shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, District police were called to the first crime scene, in the 5300 block of Southern Avenue SE. Officers found a car that had crashed into a tree.
Inside the vehicle, officers found Ashley Walker, 16, collapsed in the front passenger seat, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman. Walker, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had at least one gunshot to her upper body, police said. The car had been reported stolen that evening in Montgomery County, Gentile said.
Minutes after arriving at the first scene, police found two male teenagers in an adjoining parking lot. The teenagers apparently had fled the scene of Walker's shooting, authorities said. One youth, 15, had been shot in a leg and arm; the other, 18, had been shot in a leg, Gentile said. The teenagers, who were not identified, were hospitalized with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening, police said.
In a shooting a mile away that District police thought might be related, officers were called to the 5200 block of Dix Street NE about a half-hour later and found a man who had been shot in a leg. He was hospitalized, but his condition was unknown, police said.
Investigators said that similar shell casings were found at the Southern Avenue and Dix Street shootings and that witnesses saw a similar vehicle at both scenes -- a black pickup with tinted windows.
The violence continued about 2:30 a.m. yesterday, when police were called to investigate a shooting in the 2900 block of Knox Place SE, about five miles from the Dix Street shooting. There, officers found one man dead with at least one gunshot wound to the upper body. Police said they found a second man who had been shot in the shoulder.
Neither man was identified by police. The injured man was hospitalized with wounds that were not believed to be life-threatening, authorities said.
About 5:20 a.m. yesterday, near the District line in Prince George's County, police responded to a call about a shooting in the 2200 block of Varnum Street in Mount Rainier. Two men were found collapsed inside of a Jeep Wrangler.
The driver and passenger were struck by gunfire, officers said, apparently as they traveled along the street, causing the vehicle to go out of control, hit a car and stop on a sidewalk. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene and the passenger died at a hospital, authorities said.
Officers in Prince George's were called about 7:30 a.m. yesterday to investigate gunfire in the 1600 block of Nova Avenue in Capitol Heights. In the back of a vehicle, they found a man who had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
"It's unclear as to whether he was shot there or shot someplace else and driven there," said Cpl. Diane Richardson, a Prince George's police spokeswoman.
None of the victims in Prince George's was identified by police.
Richardson said investigators knew of no suspects or motives in the shootings. She said police are investigating possible links among the shootings.
"We are very concerned about this. We've got a number of investigators working on these cases," she said.
Police in Prince George's and the District investigated the crimes yesterday but did not know whether the shootings in the two jurisdictions were connected.
Walker's death was the latest in a string of killings that has pushed the District's number of juvenile homicides to record levels in recent years. She was the 20th juvenile to be slain this year in the District. Last year, 12 juveniles were killed; in 2002, there were 16 juvenile homicides, Gentile said.
Yesterday, as investigators worked to piece together the violent chain of events, Walker's family was at a loss to understand what had happened.
Iris Walker, the girl's aunt, said that her niece lived with her in the District and that she last spoke to Ashley on Saturday morning. She said that Ashley said nothing about her plans for Saturday night and that she has no idea what Ashley might have been doing or where she had been.
"I really don't know anything. . . . She was still here when I went to work yesterday," the aunt said.
Ashley attended Ballou, where she was enrolled in 10th grade, Iris Walker said.
In school, Ashley excelled in sports, especially track, Walker said. The teenager enjoyed reading and writing and aspired to be rap artist, she said.
"She was a sweet person and always had a smile on her face," the aunt said.