- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2003

A violent weekend in the District and Prince George’s County resulted in seven persons killed and four wounded, according to police reports.

Investigators offered no explanation yesterday about why so many people were either injured or killed by gunfire and said the six attacks did not appear related.

However, investigators in the District will explore whether the cases are gang-related, Officer Quintin Petterson said.

Four of the seven killings were in the District, bringing the city’s 2003 homicide total to 133. The total last year was 262.

The violence began Friday with a midday shootout in the 1200 block of Valley Avenue SE. Officer arrived about 3:40 p.m. to find two men with gunshot wounds and learned that as many as four men were involved in the shooting.

The victims — Guy A. Johnson, 32, of Oxon Hill, and Gregory C. Alexander of Southeast — were pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital.

Members of the department’s Emergency Response Team cordoned off the neighborhood for about five hours and took six men into custody for questioning. No charges have been filed.

On Saturday morning, a man was shot in the groin after getting into an argument with a friend in the 1200 block of Floral Street NW. Police arrested Keith Lewis, 57, at about 5:20 a.m. and the victim was taken to a hospital.

A man was shot multiple times about 9:15 that night in the 1200 block of New Jersey Avenue NW. He later died at Howard University Hospital. A $10,000 reward is being offered in the case.

The killings continued into Sunday when Derrick Wright, 19, was shot once while in the 2400 block of Queens Chapel Road NE. Mr. Wright was pronounced dead at Providence Hospital at 4:45 a.m.

The District reclaimed its status as murder capital of the United States last year, according to FBI reports. The 2002 homicide rate in the District was a 12.9 percent increase over the 2001 figure. In similar-sized cities, homicides declined 0.2 percent last year.

The violence began in Prince George’s County at about 9 p.m. Sunday when police found one man dead and another wounded on Indian Head Highway near Route 210. They also found another man with gunshot wounds a few miles away on the same road. Police said the likely motive in both cases was robbery.

About 30 minutes later, a man trying to rob the Orient Express restaurant in the 14700 block of Baltimore Avenue in Laurel was shot and killed by an employee.

“This is extremely unusual to have so many shootings in such a short time,” a police spokeswoman said.

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