- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WASHINGTON | Chaos broke out in the busy U Street corridor of northwest Washington on Tuesday, with a shooting and a subsequent car crash that left at least one person dead near a funeral for a young woman who was recently shot to death.

Police said a suspect was being sought and they were looking into the possibility it was gang-related.

The shooting broke out sometime after noon near the intersection of 13th and U streets, near the landmarks Lincoln Theatre and Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant.

Eric Jenkins, a server at a restaurant on U Street, was outside at an ATM when he said he heard a series of shots and saw people running near a Rite Aid at the corner.

Seconds later, he said, he saw a gold car go by with one of its windows broken on the passenger side. It crashed about a block away, flipping upside down.

“They were going kind of fast,” Jenkins said.

Police were investigating whether the overturned vehicle was part of a funeral procession. The one person who was killed was found inside the SUV, but it wasn’t immediately known if he died from the car accident or a gunshot wound.

Another person was shot and critically injured and a third victim may have refused treatment at the scene, authorities said.

The shooting began near the funeral for Ashley McRae, 21, of northwest Washington, who was shot Sept. 18 in southeast D.C.

Ronald Moten, co-founder of the nonprofit anti-violence group Peaceoholics, said the people involved in the shooting were at McRae’s funeral. He said McCrae was friends with people from many different communities that did not get along otherwise.

Moten was not at the funeral, but representatives of his organization were. He said when they saw tensions brewing in the crowd after the funeral, they tried to get people to leave before a fight started.

Police spokesman Lt. Nicholas Breul said police do not believe Tuesday’s shooting was associated with McRae’s killing because McRae’s case had been solved: Twenty-two-year-old Damon Antonio Sams was arrested last Friday and charged with second-degree murder while armed in McRae’s death.

The U Street area is filled with popular shops and restaurants. One entrance to the nearby U Street-Cardozo station was closed, but the station was still open and service was not affected.

Neighborhood resident Sami Bukair, 25, said he was surprised by the outburst of violence.

“Kind of surprising, living here for six years, nothing like this recently,” he said. “It’s been improving lately.”

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