Shootings that took place in the District following a funeral on Tuesday, leaving one person dead and another injured, could have been gang-related, Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters. Still, the investigation is ongoing and a motive has not been indentified, said Lanier, who briefed reporters on the scene at 13th and U streets near Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant, where the incident occurred.

Offering some insight into the chain of events, the police chief said there had been a funeral in the area for 21-year-old Ashley McRae, who was found shot to death Sept. 18 in Southeast Washington. The funeral concluded around 1:30 p.m. and people were gathering for the burial procession.

“As that procession was lining up and about to leave, there were some kids who we believe were at the funeral and who had walked a couple of blocks to get into their car,” Lanier said. “As they attempted to get in their car, suspects approached the car and opened fire.

“Right now, we know we have one person with a gunshot wound who is being treated. We have another person remaining on the scene who is deceased.”

At the time, Lanier said that person’s identity had not been made public, and they were still looking for suspects.

An overturned golden-hued SUV lay at the scene near a body covered in a white sheet. A few steps away, a black Mercedes sat with its windows blown out. Both vehicles were enclosed in the crime scene that was cordoned off by yellow tape.

Asked if the shootings might have been gang-related, Lanier responded that could have been the case, but she refrained from commenting on any evidence collected at the scene.

“But I will say that this particular funeral was a homicide that occurred a couple weeks ago and of which had been closed,” said Lanier of McRae’s slaying.

“However, that particular homicide was not gang-related.”

Lanier added that as is typical for funerals of homicide victims, about six or seven police officers had been deployed at Tuesday’s service.

While police hesitate to make conclusive statements, Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham – whose district encompasses the site of the shootings – asserted that the incident was gang-related and that what jolted him most about it was the provocation.

“What appears to have provoked this are two things: first the young lady whose funeral was being held was shot dead allegedly by her boyfriend because he saw her talking to somebody in a club,” Graham told the AFRO.

“Then what followed at the funeral was one gang showing up and taunting another gang,” he continued. “So you don’t have a situation where there’s retribution for the young lady—you have a gang showing up disrespecting the other . . . an exchange of words and gestures. And to me, that captures the madness of this.”

 

DorothyRowley

AFROStaffWriter