Girl’s violent death stuns P.G. neighbors

A 17-year-old Prince George’s County honor student who aspired to attend Harvard University was killed in her bedroom after a gunman burst into her house, police said Thursday — a crime considered unthinkable to residents who remembered the girl for her ambition and intellect.

The shooting occurred at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday inside a split-level home on a quiet street of single-family houses in the Kettering neighborhood. Detectives are investigating a report that the gunman came through the front door, made his way into the house in the 100 block of Chartsey Street and shot Amber Deanna Stanley.

Other family members were inside during the ordeal, but police said they fled at some point. Officials on Thursday had no suspect description and did not speculate about a motive.

Amber was a senior at Charles H. Flowers High School, where officials described her as well-liked and scholarly and said she planned to become a doctor.

“She had the grades, SAT scores and the attitude to attend any college in this country and succeed,” Flowers High School Principal Gorman Brown said.

Amber was among 500 students enrolled in an advanced science and technology magnet program. Her death took an especially hard toll on the 100 or so seniors in the program with whom she attended classes for the past three years, Mr. Brown said. Grief counselors were on hand Thursday, just the fourth day of the school year, to talk with students and staff.

Amber lived in the Chartsey Street house with her mother, her elder sister and her foster sister. Her mother — a hairdresser, according to neighbors — was not home at the time of the shooting but drove up in her car sometime after police arrived and was visibly distraught, they said. Other relatives were kept a distance away, and neighbors were ordered back inside their homes Wednesday night as police had blocked off the street, neighbor Jason Rue said.

A police officer kept watch over the cream-colored home Thursday afternoon with his cruiser parked in the driveway, and detectives canvassed the neighborhood Thursday evening handing out fliers seeking tips in the case.

Police spokesman Cpl. Larry Johnson confirmed that officers responded to Amber’s home Aug. 17 for a report of an assault. No arrests were made in that case, and no further details about the incident were immediately available.

Police officials could not say Thursday whether the reported assault and Amber’s death might be connected.
Residents who live on Chartsey Street were shocked at both the violence and the victim, who many said was reserved and never appeared to be involved in any trouble in the neighborhood.

“She was a real quiet girl,” neighbor Earnestine Bates said.

Several residents said Amber kept to herself.

Online, Amber appeared outgoing, making daily posts to a Twitter account that broadcast snippets of her life to more than 2,000 followers. Among her recent posts were musings about boys, pictures of cupcakes she baked for the first day of school and accounts of a recent fight with her foster sibling.

The Kettering neighborhood generally has been peaceful, though Mr. Rue said break-ins and robberies have been reported nearby in the past several years.

“It never used to be like that,” he said.

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