A D.C. police officer on patrol Wednesday afternoon heard gunshots and sped to an alley where he found a young man lying dead about a block from an entrance to Gallaudet University, according to law enforcement officials.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier responded to the shooting along with several top commanders and said neither the victim nor the incident was connected to the Northeast D.C. university. She said the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police blocked off the 1100 block of 8th St. NE, just off Florida Avenue, after the shooting, which occurred minutes before 4 p.m. The body was in an alley off 8th Street and was not visible from heavily travelled Florida Avenue or the Gallaudet campus.

Lanier said Wednesday evening that detectives had just begun their investigation and had no information about motive or possible suspects. Detectives could be seen going house-to-house in the block.

A woman who identified herself as the victim’s cousin buried her head on a friend’s shoulder and declined to speak to a reporter. A neighbor said the victim either lived or knew people on the block, and police said he was familiar to them.

Police declined to say how man times the man was shot or where he was struck. Lanier said the officer happened to be nearby when the shot rang out. “He was literally a block from the scene,”she said.

This item has been updated.