- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2004

D.C. police officers are looking for two men who fatally shot a Pennsylvania man and pistol-whipped three members of his family as they walked to their car from a wedding reception late Saturday at Franciscan Monastery in Northeast.

The family of four — two women and two men who were in town for the wedding — were approached by two men at the corner of 14th and Quincy streets just before 11 p.m.

The men demanded money while at least one brandished a gun. Before the victims could comply, the armed suspect began pistol-whipping the two women and one of the men, police said.

When one of the victims, a 57-year-old man, threw money at the suspects, he was shot and later died at Washington Hospital Center.

The suspects escaped, and police continue to search for clues.

Neighborhood residents said crime is not a major problem in the area and were surprised to hear about the violence. One police officer said she was shocked. Police in the violent-crimes division said this might be the first violent case in that neighborhood this year.

“I call this the ‘Holy Land,’” said Lashawn Sims, who lives just a block away on Randolph Street. “Nothing like this ever happens here.”

The leafy neighborhood is surrounded by churches and missions mostly associated with The Catholic University of America, with the Franciscan Monastery nestled among acres of gardens and rose beds.

Neighbors said weddings are held there nearly every weekend.

“I feel pretty safe,” said Leslie Thomas, 71, of Randolph Street. “I mean, there is drug dealing and stuff down on 12th Street, but this area is fine.”

The suspects fled the scene, taking the victims’ purses, wallets and money, said Capt. C.V. Morris, head of the Metropolitan Police Department’s violent-crimes branch.

“We don’t know the amount of money [the shooting victim] offered. Everybody lost property,” Capt. Morris said.

Police remained on the scene yesterday evening raking leaves off the sidewalk and searching the area with metal detectors. Yellow police tape remained tied to the marquee at St. Francis Hall on Quincy Street.

The three pistol-whipping victims also were taken to Washington Hospital Center for treatment, then released.

The family asked that the victims’ identities be withheld so they could notify relatives.

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