A 16-year-old girl from Columbia Heights died early yesterday after being shot in the face in her apartment, District police said, and by afternoon they had arrested Irving John, 19, and charged him with second-degree murder while armed.
Outside the apartment complex in the 3500 block of 14th Street NW where Erica Anderson lived, friends and neighbors had set up a shrine in her memory, with stuffed animals, candles, cookies and a handful of roses in a champagne bottle.
"I miss Erica" was written on an inflatable SpongeBob SquarePants doll.
Anderson, who friends said was an 11th-grader at Bell Multicultural High School, was rushed to Washington Hospital Center by police after they entered the apartment about 4 a.m. and found her with a single gunshot wound to her face. She was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, said Capt. C.V. Morris of the police department's violent crimes branch.
John had no fixed address, and police were uncertain about his motive, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, D.C. police spokesman.
Friends said Anderson had a younger brother and an older brother and older sister. She excelled in cosmetology class at school and hoped to work in a salon, a teacher said.
"She loved to do hair," said Antwanette Washington, 15, a fellow Bell student.
Deborah Buckmon, Bell's cosmetology teacher, arrived at the apartment complex in the early afternoon to try to visit the family. But the family was not there, so Buckmon left her number with neighbors, asking them to have family members call her if they needed any help.
Anderson had been in her class for two years, said Buckmon, who described her as friendly and upbeat.
"I gave her an 'exceeds expectations' on her report card," Buckmon said. "You know how most kids her age sometimes have a bad attitude? Well, she was just fun-loving and happy."
The school will offer counseling to students, Buckmon said.
Candyta Okeh, 40, who lives in the same complex as Anderson's family, described Anderson as "a good girl who would just come in and out of the building and mind her own business."
"I can't believe what happened," said a boy who declined to give his name. "We were just chillin' with her last night, playing spades."