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Man fatally shot while installing solar panels in Southeast D.C.

Police said a shooter walked up and fired multiple rounds and that a motive for the killing is not known


A 25-year-old Baltimore man installing solar panels at homes in Southeast Washington was fatally shot Wednesday afternoon at a job site, according to D.C. police, who say they know of no motive.

The assailant “walked up, produced a handgun and shot multiple times,” said Capt. Kevin Kentish, a supervisor in the homicide unit. From surveillance videos detectives have viewed, he said “it does not appear that anything was taken from the decedent.”

Police identified the victim as Aryeh Wolf, who lived in Northwest Baltimore with his wife and their daughter, born less than a year ago. The killing shook the city’s Jewish population, with a live stream of Wolf’s funeral online Thursday drawing more than 1,500 viewers. It was officiated by a rabbi who buried the victim’s great-grandparents.

Mourners gathered in the Sol Levinson funeral home described Wolf as a spirited young man, dedicated to his family and willing to help any friend in need. In brief remarks, his father, Asher Wolf, looked down at his son’s casket and said, “All the people who were privileged to know you are heartbroken.”

The shooting occurred about 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday in the 5100 block of Call Place SE in the Marshall Heights neighborhood. The street is lined with apartments on one side and single-family homes on the other, and it is near a street in the District that has struggled with gun violence. Police released a photo and a short video of a “person of interest” walking on a street wearing dark pants, a sleeveless white shirt, a backward baseball cap and a bag strapped over his shoulders.

Kentish said residents on Call Place were providing surveillance videos. He said detectives are watching those videos to try to learn if there any prior interactions or confrontations between Wolf and the assailant. “A lot of stuff is unclear,” Kentish said, adding that “nothing is really off the table” as far as motive. Police said Wolf had been in the neighborhood for a few weeks installing solar panels.

Delia Houseal, who chairs the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in the area, said she had not learned details of the shooting. But she said recent burglaries and robberies have been a cause for concern and have left her asking, “Why am I afraid?”

The shooting comes amid a spike in homicides across the District, which police statistics show has recorded 132 killing this year, a 12 percent increase from this time last year. City leaders have struggled to address the rise of gun violence, and last year more than 200 people were slain in the District for the first time in nearly two decades.

Rabbi Menachem Goldberger said he had officiated the funerals for Wolf’s great-grandparents, and he had a hard time with performing the same ritual for their great-grandson. He noted that Tisha B’Av, a day of fasting to mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times, as well as other tragedies in Jewish history, had concluded Sunday.

The death of Wolf, Goldberger said, showed that Tisha B’Av did not end, “as we are experiencing another tragedy.” He said Wolf was “struck down in a moment with no warning,” cutting short the life of a man who he described as “very humble” and “striving for something greater.”

Shmuel Wolf said his older brother had always been the favorite on their block, the one everyone, especially children, flocked to for advice or a good time. No matter a person’s faults or a situation’s problems, Shmuel Wolf said, his brother “twisted it to look at it in a nice way.”

At the end of the services, another relative read a letter from the victim’s wife, Mindy. “There is just no way this is real,” she wrote. “You took care of me when no one else could have. There is a gaping hole in my heart that only your love is able to fill. Two and half years with you will never be enough.”

Emily Davies contributed to this report.

An earlier version of this story misstated one of Asher Wolf’s remarks about his son. This version has been corrected.