Weekend Rundown: Lockdown After Shooting in Van Ness

A man indiscriminately fired more than 100 rounds from an apartment in Van Ness Friday, wounding four people, including a 12-year-old girl. The gunman began firing at the private Edmund Burke School and surrounding area around 3:20 pm, shortly after school was dismissed. Among the people shot was a man in his 50s, who worked part-time at Burke as a security guard. A woman in her 60s, who was waiting in her car to pick up a child, and a woman in her 30s were also wounded. The injuries are not life-threatening.

the suspected gunman, Raymond Spencerapparently took his own life as police attempted to breach a unit on the fifth floor of the AVA Van Ness apartments, according to MPD Chief Robert Contee.

After the shots rang out, officials issued lockdowns at multiple schools, including Burke and the University of the District of Columbia, and an AlertDC message warning of an “active threat” and to “shelter in place if you are nearby.”

DC police searched door-to-door in the area, and at approximately 7:30 pm, MPD identified Spencer, a 23-year-old Fairfax resident, as a person of interest. By then, Mayor Muriel Bowser said, officials had begun to reunite Burke students with their parents at Cleveland Park Library.

Police recovered several firearms and ammo from an apartment where a gunman fired indiscriminately at Edmund Burke School. Credit: Courtesy of MPD

Police recovered six guns, including long guns and handguns, and multiple rounds of ammunition from the fifth-floor apartment. Contee said officers also found a “sniper-type setup” with a tripod and rifle. Initial evidence indicates the weapons might have been legally obtained.

“This person, obviously, his intent was to kill and hurt members of our community,” Contee said Saturday.

Contee said police are no longer searching for a person of interest, and they don’t believe there are any other suspects. The Post reports that a user identifying as Spencer posted on the online forum 4chan shortly after the shooting began, writing “Dear God please forgive me.” The Wikipedia pages for the Edmund Burke School and for Spencer were also edited after shots rang out.

In a letter to residents Friday night, Bowser blamed “the easy access to firearms.” A national study published in February shows that gun ownership has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gun violence became the leading cause of death for US children and teens for the first time in 2020, NBC reports.

“All of this because a person who had no business having a gun got access to one and used it to terrorize a school community,” Bowser said in the letter, describing the shooting injuries and the confusion and chaos that surrounded the shootings. Classes at Burke are canceled for today, WJLA reports.

A Police Shooting in Petworth

On Saturday, MPD shot and killed 42-year-old Erica Graham. Around 6 am officers responded to a call about a female gunshot victim in the 800 block of Crittenden Street NW, WTOP reports. Officers administered first-aid to the gunshot victim, identified as Graham’s neighbor, who had been shot in the arm. Officers then reportedly encountered Graham, who had been “acting erratically,” Contee said during a press conference Saturday.

Contee said Graham was wearing a special police officer’s uniform, holding a gun, and smashing the windows at a nearby house. He said Graham did not comply with officers’ orders to drop the gun, and officers shot and killed her. Police later verified that Graham wasn’t licensed as a special police officer.

—Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • DC police identified 19-year-old Germantown resident Gordon Casey as the suspected intruder who Secret Service officers killed at the Peruvian ambassador’s DC home last week. [NBC4]
  • Some Afghan evacuees in the DC area are facing evictions after their limited government aid has run out. [Post]
  • On Sunday, an Orthodox Easter celebration at Saint Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring brought together a community navigating the grief of war abroad. [Post, NBC4]
  • The oldest structure in the National Mall, the Lockkeeper’s House, is now open to the public. [WUSA9]

By Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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