- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 25, 2000

District of Columbia police were looking for more witnesses to interview yesterday in connection with the shooting death of a Southeast man early Sunday morning in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in Northwest.

Police said they already have developed some leads in the slaying of John Curtis Worthington, 37, from several men and women who witnessed the shooting. The incident occurred at 3:28 a.m. in the 2400 block of 18th Street NW while several on-duty police officers stood nearby.

Investigators said they believe more witnesses could provide additional clues that may help them track down the killer.

Police are offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the suspect in Mr. Worthington's slaying.

"We feel that there are people in the community who have the missing pieces to our puzzle," said 3rd District Cmdr. Mark Beach, whose district includes Adams Morgan.

"We feel strongly that there were a lot of people out there at the time of the shooting who know something," Cmdr. Beach said. "And we're urging them to come out and talk to us."

Meanwhile, Cmdr. Beach has ordered a review of the patrol strategies in place at the time of the shooting. In the last year, at the request of merchants, the department has brought in extra officers to work overtime and has partnered with the Secret Service and the Park Police to keep the neighborhood safe.

Cmdr. Beach said that on Sunday seven officers six working overtime were assigned to the patrol area that encompasses Adams Morgan. He said his officers did the best they could to protect the neighborhood.

"Our response time was very, very short," Cmdr. Beach said. "We're very impressed with the response time, even though a life was lost."

Police said Mr. Worthington, of the 4300 block of Third Street, got into a fight at a nearby restaurant several minutes before he was gunned down in front of the DCCD music store at 2423 18th St. NW.

Police could not say yesterday whether the incident was gang-related.

"We don't have that information," Cmdr. Beach said. "It appears there was an argument, and we'll stand firmly on that until we get any other information."

Sunday's incident was not the first for Adams Morgan, which is home to a string of restaurants and bars.

In January, two men were shot to death and one was wounded just steps away from where Mr. Worthington was killed. That shooting occurred after a man made comments to girlfriends of the victims while they were walking down 18th Street near the Cassava Cafe next to the Colonial parking lot.

In the summer of 1997, two men were killed and another injured after an argument at Las Rocas restaurant at 2450 18th St. NW.

Police ask anyone with information on the latest shooting to call the 3rd District Station at 202/673-6914 or the D.C. CrimeSolvers Unit at 800/673-2777.

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