Four people, including a teenager, were shot in Prince George's County yesterday afternoon after two men argued, left to get guns and started shooting, police said.
Three of the victims were men and one was a woman, said Cpl. Debbi Carlson, a county police spokeswoman. She said that one of the victims also was in custody as a suspect and that additional arrests were expected among the victims.
Three of the shooting victims were taken to Washington Hospital Center, with one in critical condition and two in serious condition, according to Mark Brady, a Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department spokesman. The fourth victim was treated at Prince George's Hospital Center for a wound that police said was not life-threatening.
The shooting occurred about 4:45 p.m. in the Fox Club apartment complex in the 1900 block of Brooks Drive near Marlboro Pike, in the District Heights area. A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing, said two men argued and threatened to shoot each other. The source said both men retrieved weapons and fired at each other. Each man's girlfriend witnessed the shooting, and one of the women was among those who were shot, the source said.
The police source and an officer at the scene said two handguns were recovered.
Carlson would not release the names of the victims or their relationships but said the youngest was 17. She said the three other victims were in their twenties.
The shootings add to a spate of violence that has left the county and the District about even with the most homicides in the Washington area this year. In Prince George's, 96 people have been killed, an increase of 30 percent over the same period last year. Rapes are up 20 percent, robberies 45 percent and carjackings 48 percent.
The randomness of the shootings in Prince George's has left residents wary of their surroundings. Shootings have occurred at Six Flags America in Largo, in the affluent Woodmore South subdivision in Mitchellville and in the more economically depressed communities near the District line.
Yesterday's shooting left residents of the Fox Club community, a cluster of four-story garden-style buildings constructed around an asphalt parking lot, fearful for their safety.
Police at the scene said the shooting spilled out of the apartment building onto a nearby hill that slopes down to a community swimming pool and playground. Afterward, yellow police barricade tape was strung between a tree and a stop sign, and an officer took a police dog around the building as detectives canvassed the area for clues.
Children played outside the building where the shootings began, while several neighbors milled about, watching police and waiting for permission to reenter their homes.
"Shooting at each other outside their apartments -- it's a wonder that somebody's child didn't get hit," said a woman who lives in the building where the shooting occurred. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by the shooters.
Yvonne Cooper, a resident of the complex, said that there was a shooting Friday night but that no one was injured. She said a 20-year-old man was killed at the entrance to the complex in May. Several residents said they planned to move because of escalating violence in the area. "I'm getting out of here," Cooper said.
Another neighbor said she heard loud screaming about 4:45 p.m. and opened her door, believing that the commotion was caused by children playing loudly. When she stepped out, she said, she saw a woman who looked as if she had been shot in the leg screaming that her boyfriend and brother had been shot.