- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2007

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty yesterday attended a memorial service for an Alexandria architect who was killed in February 2006 when he was hit by a stray bullet during an argument over a parking space.

A picture of Damon Ward provided the backdrop as Mr. Fenty, D.C. Council member Jim Graham, police and community leaders and Mr. Ward’s mother gathered at the corner of 14th and U streets Northwest to urge anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.

“We confirm our condolences to this family,” Mr. Fenty said as he stood in front of the Franklin D. Reeves Center, about two blocks from where the shooting took place at 12th and U streets Northwest. “I know how tough it must be for them.”

Mr. Fenty then looked at Mr. Ward’s mother, Barbara, and said: “You do have our commitment.”

Mr. Ward, 33, was hit in the chest by a stray bullet on Feb. 26, 2006. Police said the shooting stemmed from an argument over a car that was double-parked in front of an empty parking space that morning. Mr. Ward, who was standing on the sidewalk, was not involved in the argument.

Police said a dark pickup truck or sport utility vehicle approached the car from behind, and when the driver of the car wouldn’t move, the occupants of the second vehicle got out and beat the driver, police 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 a club, was struck by one of the bullets.

Mrs. Ward spoke about her son’s character and his work as an architect. Mr. Ward designed a cageless animal shelter that opened in Northwest in October.

“My son was a model citizen,” she said.

Authorities doubled the reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction to $50,000 shortly after the shooting, but police have made little progress in the investigation.

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said the police department is still taking the case “very seriously,” but he added that police need help from someone who saw the shooting.

“Somebody knows what happened,” he said. “If they’re not going to come forward for the $50,000 reward, if they’re not going to come forward because it’s the right thing to do, at the very least come forward for Damon’s mom today.”

After the service, attendees took a rose and marched down U Street to the site of the shooting while singing, “We Shall Overcome.” They laid the roses at the base of a tree near where Mr. Ward was shot and offered Mrs. Ward their condolences.

Mrs. Ward said she wants the people responsible for her son’s death brought to justice.

“I won’t be satisfied until they’re caught,” she said.

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