- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 19, 2001

Family and neighbors are keeping details secret about the shooting of a 12-year-old girl in her apartment in Columbia Heights [Md.] Tuesday night, as police search for the shooter.
The girl was struck in the chest by a bullet about 10:45 p.m. as she sat on the balcony of the family's third-floor dwelling at the Cavalier Apartments in the 3500 block of 14th St. NW.
"The shooting of a child is something that gets everyone's attention. We want this to be something that is solved quickly. Whether it is random or directed, we don't know," said Maudine R. Cooper, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Urban League, which is right across the street and offers programs for the families in the Cavalier Apartment complex.
Officials at Children's Hospital, where the girl was taken, reported last night that she is in fair condition.
Police officials said they believe a stray bullet hit the girl, but also are trying to determine if the victim knew the shooter. Investigators also are looking at the possibility she was shot by a man who recently had been barred from the apartments.
Witnesses told police they saw a black man in a Cadillac drive by the high-rise apartment complex and begin shooting into the air. They are searching for the suspect who had a cornrow hairdo and was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans.
"We know there have been several incidents of violence in this community. We want to know what we can do to help the family," said Mrs. Cooper, adding that the league has informally adopted the Cavalier Apartments in the primarily black and Hispanic neighborhood, rife with drugs, gangs and vagrants begging for money.
Most residents of the apartment shied away from reporters, but one who lives on the seventh floor and asked not to be identified said he heard about 10 gunshots Tuesday night, but didn't dare leave his house.
"Though it is a nice building," he said, "you must keep your distance. It's low-income, Section-8. There's a lot of people who don't [care]. You stay to yourself and mind your own business," he added.
Police are asking that anyone with information call 4th District investigators at 202/576-6745.

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