- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 17, 2003

A 6-year-old girl was shot in the abdomen during a drive-by shooting in Southeast yesterday, but police said they doubt she was the intended target.

A man walking nearby was killed in what police said was a related shooting.

“The girl obviously is an innocent bystander,” Chief Charles H. Ramsey said. “We don’t know what involvement the male victim had.”

The girl remained in critical condition last night in Children’s hospital while police continue to look for more witnesses.

Police said the shots were fired from a car passing through the intersection of 51st and C streets SE at about 10:15 a.m.

Police have identified the man who was killed as Jovani Jefferson, 22, of the 5000 block of C Street SE. Police said Mr. Jefferson apparently ran about a half block into the 5000 block of C Street before collapsing. He was taken to the Washington Hospital Center’s trauma center, where he died about three hours later.

Chief Ramsey said the girl was walking with an adult and another child when struck by the stray bullet, which also left an exit wound.

Officers from the 6th District spent the late morning knocking on doors of homes and apartments, talking to residents about what they may have seen or heard. Witnesses said the car fled the area and nearly struck two officers who arrived at the scene shortly after the shootings.

Chief Ramsey said either the driver or a passenger in the vehicle was armed, but he had no description of the car.

Chief Ramsey also said Mr. Jefferson may have been released from jail recently, but it remained unclear whether his incarceration has anything to do with the shooting.

“There’s drug activity in this area, recently and obviously the violence is associated with it,” he said. Chief Ramsey also said narcotics officers made “a good-size arrest” in the immediate vicinity Tuesday night.

Police were also tying to determine whether a male found with a gunshot wound on Southern Avenue, less than a mile away, was involved in the incident.

The department’s Violent Crimes Branch is investigating the case. They are asking anyone with information to call police at 202/727-9099.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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