The two people found dead Saturday after a fire in a house in Southeast Washington were identified Sunday and the police said they were homicide victims.
The two were identified as Joseph Burgess, 60, of Southeast and Regina Bowman, 50, of Southeast. A relative said Burgess lived in the house where he was found in the 3300 block of Ely Place SE. A police report said Bowman lived at another address.
Police said autopsies determined that each died as a result of homicide.
The medical examiner’s ruling raised the number of homicide deaths in the District over the weekend to four. That brought to five the number of slayings in the city in the first six days of the New Year. In addition, a serious shooting was reported Sunday night that left the victim unconscious and not breathing, police said. .
No cause of death could be learned for the victims found after the fire. On Saturday, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department said they “may have suffered injuries prior to the fire.”
Firefighters were called about 6:20 a.m. Saturday to the gable-roofed house at the corner of Ely Place and 34th Street. Fire was reported in the basement and on the main floor of the single-story house. The blaze was brought under control about an hour later.
In what appeared to be an unusual coincidence, a smaller fire was reported about the same time in a house around the corner on D Street.
No causes could be learned Sunday for either fire.
Reached by telephone on Sunday, Burgess’s son called him a generous man with “a loving heart” who was beloved by family and friends.
If people said they were in need, Burgess would “make sure you had,” said the son, Joseph L. Burgess.
At one time, he said, his father had worked as a civilian employee of the D.C. police department. He had lived in the Ely Place house since 1987, the son said.
He said he knew nothing about what might have led to the homicide.
Reached by telephone, the mother of Regina Bowman said she was not yet ready to speak about her loss.
The site of the fire is in the Greenway neighborhood, near Minnesota Avenue.