- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2000

District of Columbia police Thursday impounded a sport utility vehicle they believe was used in the fatal shootings of two high school sweethearts and identified the man they believe drove the vehicle.

Thursday night, police were searching for Jermaine Antuon Johnson, 24. As of Thursday night, police had not obtained arrest warrants in the case.

Police also narrowed the search for the gunman in Tuesday's slayings on a quiet street in Northeast.

Andre Wallace, captain of the Woodrow Wilson High School football team, and his girlfriend, Natasha Marsh, both 17, were fatally shot about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday as they unloaded groceries in front of her Brookland home. The two were seniors at the school.

D.C. police said a black 1997 Ford Expedition pulled up outside the house in the 3600 block of 17th Street NE and at least one person opened fire, hitting Andre and Natasha repeatedly in the head and body.

Thursday, the truck was spotted at a car dealership in College Park, where a dealership worker alerted police to its location.

An employee at Koons Ford dealership at 8315 Baltimore Ave. called police Thursday morning after she realized the truck, dropped off for service Wednesday, was the one they were looking for.

Police impounded the truck, taking it to the Metropolitan Police Department's maintenance facility on South Capitol Street SW to be combed for evidence.

"An employee from the dealership recognized the vehicle from a [television news] broadcast," D.C. police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said.

A woman who answered the phone at the service center at the dealership Thursday said no one would comment on the matter.

The man who took the car into the dealership for service did not own the car, police said.

Police Thursday night were expected to meet with the person who dropped the car off at the dealership.

Police began looking for the truck early Wednesday after getting a Maryland license plate number M367591 of the truck seen in the area at the time of the shooting. It was not clear Thursday who provided police with the plate number.

Andre and Natasha had attended a basketball game and were bringing food they had picked up for Natasha's mother. They were unloading the groceries when they were shot. Both collapsed in the street by the trunk of the car in the neighborhood near Catholic University.

Andre had been involved in a fight during the last minutes of a home game against Coolidge High School earlier in the day. The fight, which involved several teen-agers, apparently erupted after another teen-ager had approached Natasha, police said.

A videotape of the fight shows Andre battling another youth, who is a suspect in the shooting, police said. They did not identify the youth by name Thursday night.

A youth named Jermaine Johnson went to the 6th District police station after he saw a television report that police were looking for someone with his name. But he told police he was not the Jermaine Johnson they were looking for, and police did not detain him.

Detectives have questioned several people and are working around the clock in their investigation.

Meanwhile, friends, family and others gathered Thursday night on the sidewalk outside the home for a candlelight vigil in memory of the slain teen-agers.

The mothers of the victims wore T-shirts bearing photos of Natasha and Andre and reading "We miss y'all."

"This is love this is what it's supposed to be all about," Natasha's mother, Renae Williams, said of the crowd that gathered in front of her home, whom she thanked for their support.

Parents, classmates and friends stood huddled trying to draw strength from each other and understand a crime that makes no sense.

"[People] want to say that teen-agers don't know what love is that was love," said Nikitea Watson, 15, said of the young couple.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday for Andre and Natasha at Bible Way Church, 1100 New Jersey Ave. NW.

There will be a viewing at 9 a.m. followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m.

Donations can be made to the Marsh/Wallace Fund, care of Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016.

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