- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 12, 2007

A D.C. firefighter found fatally shot in a Northeast neighborhood Friday night was part of a troubled cadet class marred by violence and had been the victim of a previous shooting in 2002.

Police said Michael G. Holmone Jr. was found shot multiple times on the 3500 block of Jay Street shortly after 9 p.m.

Mr. Holmone, 25, was taken to Prince George’s County Hospital and pronounced dead at 9:45 p.m.

Police say they have no suspects or motive in the shooting. Mr. Holmone was at an apartment complex to visit friends when the incident occurred and he used to live in the area, police said.

“We’re still trying to locate a bunch of witnesses who can tell us what happened,” said Lt. Paul Wingate of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Violent Crimes Branch. “Apparently there were a lot of people out there at that time.”

Fire department spokesman Alan Etter said Mr. Holmone had been with the department for five years and worked at Engine Co. 19 in the 2800 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast.

Mr. Etter called the incident “a tragedy” and said newly-appointed Fire Chief Dennis L. Rubin has been in contact with Mr. Holmone’s family.

Mr. Holmone was hired onto the department through a federally-funded cadet program aimed at giving jobs to at-risk youth. But his graduating class was plagued by violent incidents, and Mr. Holmone himself was shot by a fellow classmate in January 2002.

According to court records, in the early-morning hours of Jan. 1, Cadet Michael McKnight was driving with a passenger on Minnesota Avenue in Northeast when he recognized Mr. Holmone’s car going in the opposite direction.

McKnight turned his car around and followed Mr. Holmone’s car to a traffic light, according to the records.

“A moment later, gunfire erupted from the defendant’s car,” court papers say. Bullets struck Mr. Holmone, then 21, in the face and neck. McKnight then drove off.

“Amazingly the victim was not killed,” the papers say. Mr. Holmone crawled out of the passenger side of the car and escaped.

Another cadet in the car with Mr. Holmone, Marcus Holness, also escaped. But Mr. Holness was stabbed in May 2002 and fatally shot two months later outside a nightclub in Southwest.

Other graduates in Mr. Holmone’s class were arrested on murder and drug charges.

Adam I. Neal was charged last year in the September 2003 killings of two elderly women in the Suitland Florist Shop after DNA evidence connected him to the crime.

Kevin E. Steve was arrested twice in 2005 — once in Montgomery County and once in Prince George’s County — on charges of intent to distribute drugs. He was fired by the department last year for not informing fire officials of the arrests.

The fire cadet program began in 1988 but was halted in 1995 when the fire department ran out of city funds to pay for it. The program was revived in 2001 when former Fire Chief Ronnie Few procured federal funds for it through the D.C. Department of Employment Services.

The program also was suspended last year while fire officials conducted an investigation into whether cadets lied about their residency on applications. It was reinstated later last year.

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