The shooting in front of players, spectators and members of the victim’s family was one of several killings over a roughly 12-hour period. The victims include a District employee who was part of a team that works with children with disabilities. Authorities said she was shot in what they believe is a domestic-related attack in a shopping center parking lot.
There have been at least 161 homicides in the District this year, a 10 percent increase over this time in 2020. Killings in the District are rising for the fourth consecutive year.
The first fatal shooting Wednesday occurred about 8:20 p.m. at North Capitol and O streets in the Truxton Circle neighborhood of Northwest Washington. Police identified the victim as 20-year-old Rufus Davis but released few other details. No arrest has been made.
The shooting at the football game occurred about 9:45 p.m., just after lights had been turned off on the field near Watkins Elementary School, and a little more than an hour after the Watkins Hornets youth football team had ended its practice and departed.
School officials sent a letter to parents on Thursday saying that all the young players and their families had left for home well before the adult flag football game had started. “We do not believe any of them were present during this conflict or impacted by it,” the letter said.
D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who represents the area where the shooting occurred, said the victim and the assailant had been arguing throughout the game, and continued after the final buzzer sounded.
Allen, who was briefed on details by police, said that as players went to their equipment bags, the man pulled a gun and shot Wiggins in front of members of his family and others, and fled in the vehicle.
A police report says that Wiggins was struck several times and that bullets damaged a parked vehicle and hit the window of a nearby residence. Police said the assailant drove away in a white Infiniti G35 sedan. The report says a 9mm untraceable “ghost gun” built from a home kit was recovered at the scene. The precise nature of the argument could not be determined.
An advisory neighborhood commissioner for the Capitol Hill area, Denise Rucker Krepp, complained that D.C. elected leaders have hindered police through various reforms and called on prosecutors to move more aggressively in pursuing criminal cases.
Allen blamed the proliferation of illegal firearms in the District, allowing people embroiled in minor disputes to quickly try to resolve disagreements with a gun.
“We’re talking about two people playing football, and it ends like this?” Allen said. “This is easy access to guns by people who decide the way to resolve an argument on the football field is to pull the trigger.”
The violence continued the following day, when D.C. police arrested a man on charges that he fatally stabbed a Southeast Washington woman early Thursday morning, officials said in a statement.
Officers were called to the 600 block of Parkland Place SE for the report of a stabbing about 7:25 a.m. and found 41-year-old Talaya Wright suffering from what appeared to be stab wounds, police said. D.C. Fire and EMS medics took Wright to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
Police arrested Waynice Ellis, 29, of no fixed address, at the scene. He was later charged with second-degree murder while armed, a police statement said. Police did not release details of what precipitated the attack or led to Ellis’s arrest.
Also Thursday morning, police said a woman was fatally shot inside a vehicle outside a Planet Fitness gym at the Penn Branch shopping center in the 3200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
The woman was identified as Nikiesha Thomas, an employee with the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
Police said that they believe Thomas was shot in a domestic dispute and that her assailant later carjacked a vehicle in Prince George’s County and led police on a pursuit back into the District. Police said the man fatally shot himself as officers surrounded his vehicle at East Capitol Street and Minnesota Avenue SE.
A spokeswoman with the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education said Thomas had been assigned to the Strong Start team, an intervention program that provides services to infants and toddlers with disabilities.
Magda Jean-Louis, Perry Stein, Donovan J. Thomas and Clarence Williams contributed to this report.