- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2006

D.C. police are looking for at least four men in the death of a 33-year-old architect who was struck by a stray bullet outside a Northwest restaurant during an argument over a parking space.

The shooting occurred in the 1200 block of U Street Northwest outside the Duke’s City restaurant and jazz club just before 3 a.m. Sunday.

Damon Ward, 33, of the 1200 block of South Eads Street in Arlington, was hit in the chest by a bullet and died just after 7 a.m. Sunday.

A 21-year-old woman also was hit in the left leg. The woman, who was treated and released from a local hospital, has not been identified because she is a witness.

Police said neither the woman nor Mr. Ward was involved in the dispute.

Capt. C.V. Morris, head of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Violent Crimes Branch, told reporters yesterday that a car was double-parked in front of an empty parking space outside the club when it was approached from behind by a dark pickup truck or sport utility vehicle.

The occupants of the second vehicle tried to get the driver of the double-parked car to move. When the driver did not, they jumped out of the car and beat him, Capt. Morris said.

The men then retreated into their vehicle, and shots were fired at the driver of the other vehicle as they sped away.

Mr. Ward, who was standing near the entrance to the club, was struck by the bullet. The suspects are described only as black men.

Capt. Morris called the killing “senseless.”

“It’s one of those cases that just shouldn’t have happened, especially over a parking space,” he said.

Mr. Ward was a licensed architect in Louisiana, Missouri, Maryland, Virginia and the District.

He had started a company, DPW Design & Development, whose stated objective was to serve the needs of “residents, developers, and retailers in and around urban cores.”

A biography on the company’s Web site (dpwgroup.com) said Mr. Ward received a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1996 from Florida A&M; University and abachelor of science degree in 1995. It features photos of projects the company completed in New Orleans, St. Louis and Shreveport, La.

“He had successfully completed more than 11 large-scale projects, including more than 750 apartment units, totaling more than $100 million in construction in his nine-year employment history,” the biography says.

Mr. Ward was a member of the American Institute of Architects, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and Architectural Woodwork Institute, and a former member of the Young Leadership Council.

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