- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 12, 2004

D.C. police are investigating whether a fatal highway shooting early yesterday morning might have been an incident of road rage, with the shooter taking revenge for an earlier car accident.

At about 3:30 a.m., police found a white Toyota Tercel with its front end crumpled into a guardrail on Interstate 295 near Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast.

On the ground near the car, officers found a black woman suffering from a bullet wound in the back.

“We believe she was the passenger of the 1998 Toyota, and the driver may have fled on foot,” said Sgt. Joe Gentile, D.C. police spokesman.

The woman was pronounced dead at about 4:15 a.m. at Prince George’s Hospital Center.

“The preliminary investigation indicates the Toyota may have been pursued and fired upon by another vehicle occupied by one or more subjects,” Sgt. Gentile said. “We aren’t sure this is what happened, but it is one of the things we are investigating.”

He said the Toyota might have crashed with another car at 39th and East Capitol streets in Southeast, setting off a chase.

The suspects might have chased the Toyota until it crashed on I-295, which led to the driver’s fleeing and the woman’s being shot.

“We believe there may have been other people who saw someone along the way,” said D.C. police Lt. Guy Middleton, who was involved in the investigation.

Police said they will release the woman’s name after her family is notified.

They also are working to identify the driver of the Toyota, who is thought to be a man.

Streets around I-295 were shut down for several hours while police investigated, but Sgt. Gentile said that because of the time of day, there was little impact on traffic.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call D.C. police at 202/727-9099. A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

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