A 33-year-old resident of a controversial halfway house for prisoners was fatally shot inside the Northeast Washington facility late Wednesday, D.C. police said.
The killing sparked outrage from residents and a D.C. Council member who have been fighting to shutter the facility since it opened two years ago.
Police said the violence erupted about 10:50 p.m. when someone opened fire on the resident inside the halfway house in the 2200 block of Adams Place NE.
The shooting victim's name was not released pending notification of his death to relatives. He was wounded several times and taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he died an hour later.
Police said that they believe the gunman was a fellow resident and that they have narrowed the list of potential suspects to two or three people.
The halfway house, called Bannum Place, is run by Bannum Inc., a Florida-based company that has a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Investigators said four Bannum employees were working at the time of the shooting.
The halfway house is a residence for about 80 people serving the final stretches of their sentences. The residents receive counseling and work and get ready to reenter society, according to court papers filed by Bannum.
Detectives expressed frustration because security cameras were not working inside the facility, police officials said.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons referred calls about the slaying to Bannum. Operators of Bannum Place and its lawyer did not return calls seeking comment. An employee told a reporter who visited the facility that she had nothing to say.
The facility, located a few blocks from a shelter for troubled girls and across the street from a day-care center for mentally retarded adults, has generated controversy since Bannum obtained zoning approval to operate the halfway house.
Bannum moved in its first inmates in May 2003. In September of that year, acting on an appeal from the community, the city's zoning board voted 4 to 1 to overturn the awarding of a building permit for the halfway house.
This April, the city's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs revoked the facility's certificate of occupancy. Bannum appealed that decision and is fighting to keep the halfway house open.
Regina James, a community activist, contended yesterday that Bannum Place should not have been operating in the months since the District revoked its certificate of occupancy. "I am really disgusted, outraged and incensed," she said.
D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5), who represents the area, said yesterday that the city had not done enough to ensure that the facility would close.
"The D.C. government has not done its job in shutting down this institution," Orange said.
Vincent Morris, a spokesman for Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), said that regulators were moving as quickly as possible to close the halfway house but that they had to wait until Bannum exhausted its appeals. The city yesterday sent Bannum a notice that it had to vacate the building. The company has 45 days to comply, Morris said.
Staff writers Lori Montgomery and Nia-Malika Henderson contributed to this report.