Evan Williams, a security guard, was driving back to work from his dinner break when at least six gunshots rang out at Third and Atlantic streets in Southeast Washington.
One man who D.C. police think was the intended target was wounded in the Thursday night shooting. But authorities said another bullet passed through the passenger-side window of Williams’s car, barely missing a female passenger, and struck the security guard.
The 29-year-old Maryland resident managed to drive two blocks east on Atlantic Street to the fire station in Washington Highlands, where Engine 33 is quartered. From there, he was rushed to a hospital. He died at 1:21 a.m., just over two hours after the 11:15 p.m. shooting.
“At this time, he is not believed to have been the intended target,” D.C. police said in a statement. A report says the city’s ShotSpotter monitors detected six gunshot at the time of the shooting.
Detectives had not made any arrests in the shooting as of Friday and made few details public. Police declined to identify the security company for which Williams worked; one firm that contracts with three apartment buildings along Atlantic Street said he was not employed there.
“He was a good kid,” said Quenton Brown, 30, who attended Frederick Douglass High School with Williams and played with him on the junior varsity football team. “He wore his heart on his sleeves. He was a fun-loving guy. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who he disagreed with, unless you were to disrespect somebody he really loved.”
On Friday, Brown posted a selfie Williams took as he sat in a car wearing a bullet-resistant vest adorned with a patch commemorating the 9/11 attacks. He was a special police officer — licensed by the District to have arrest powers, usually limited to a designated geographic area, such as an apartment complex.
As of June, there were 7,720 special police officers with active licenses in the District, and 4,523 were approved to carry firearms. It was not immediately clear whether Williams was armed.
On Friday, Williams’s relatives declined to talk to a reporter about him and said his mother was too distraught.
The woman who said she was with Williams when he was shot posted her account to Facebook. It was confirmed by a police official and by the woman’s sister. The woman did not return calls seeking comment. The Washington Post is not revealing her identity because she was a witness to a crime.
The woman wrote that she doesn’t know why “God didn’t take me last night. The bullet went through my window and hit u.” She said her seat was back, clearing a fatal path to Williams. “U my partner I told u I love u. U was so strong. U r always going to be in my heart ... They killed my partner.”
Washington Highlands is in Southeast Washington between Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling along Interstate 295 and the Maryland line. The community in the District’s 8th Ward is consistently ranked among the city’s most violent neighborhoods.
Absalom Jordan, who represents the area on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8D, listed four shootings there in the past few weeks. They included a drive-by that missed its target and another deadly shooting. Police statistics show two homicides there this year, down from six over the same period in 2015. Assault with weapons are up slightly.
Jordan, who is 75 and has lived in the community for 21 years, said recent violence has drawn more police, but he complained that, overall, little is being done by law enforcement and other city agencies.
“Nobody seems to give a damn about what is happening,” Jordan said. “No matter what happens, we can’t find anyone to help us. The question is, ‘How much more lawlessness should we be expected to tolerate?’ ”
Jordan said security guards have been working hard at three apartment complexes that line Atlantic Street — Atlantic Gardens, Atlantic Terrace and Southern Hills. He said one guard recently posted a video on YouTube showing a man standing on a rooftop and aiming a gun at one of the apartment buildings’ rental office.
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.