Neighbors said they knew something bad had happened when they awoke to the sounds of furious banging and screams coming from the third-floor hallway of their Southeast Washington apartment building early Thursday.
One woman said she opened the door to her home and saw her neighbor, eight months pregnant, bleeding on the floor.
The woman, a mother of three, had been stabbed in the stomach. Other people, roused by the commotion, emerged from their apartments. Someone called 911. The victim told them she had been sleeping, her 1-year-old child on her chest, when a man in a black hoodie entered her home and attacked her. She ran out of the apartment and pounded on her neighbors’ doors for help.
The woman, who is expected to recover from the injuries, was not identified by police. She was rushed to a hospital. Her child, delivered Thursday morning, did not survive.
She named him Kuron Rashad Hunt.
D.C. police throughout the day stopped short of saying a killing had occurred. They originally said that an unborn baby had died as a result of an apparent attack.
Later in the day, officers issued a news release indicating that the boy died after he was delivered. But officials said they would await the results of an autopsy by the medical examiner’s office to determine whether or not the death would be classified as a homicide. They said investigators found no signs of forced entry inside the apartment.
Outside the building, in the 4200 block of Ninth Street Southeast, neighbors said Thursday afternoon that they were shocked that a mother of three children would be attacked in her home.
“Everyone is surprised that this happened in the community,” said Stephen Slaughter, an Advisory Neighborhood Commission member who visited the apartment complex, which is nestled among rows of town houses and other small apartment buildings around the Washington Highlands neighborhood.
The woman is a stay-at-home mom who lived in the apartment with her boyfriend and her three children, neighbors said. The boyfriend was not home at the time of the attack, neighbors said. Two children’s bicycles — one red and one pink — were on the balcony of the apartment.
“She’s a very good, devoted mother,” said Cynthia Spenard, a neighbor who lives a floor below the victim.
Security cameras face the parking lot behind the apartment complex. Neighbors said another camera inside the building faces the front door, and they are hopeful that one of the cameras captured an image of the attacker. A building manager was seen dashing into the complex to retrieve surveillance footage as the police investigation dragged into the evening.
One woman, who spoke anonymously in part out of fear that an attacker could be at large, noted that a key is required to access the main entrance to the building. She said she was among those who called 911 after finding the pregnant woman in the hallway.
She wondered how the attacker got inside.
“We are trying to figure out how somebody got in here,” she said. “Those doors are not left wide open. It’s only open if the children are playing out here and parents are outside.”