Tragedy was compounded this afternoon for people attending Ashley McRae‘s funeral at Walker Memorial Baptist Church. Just after the service ended around noon, a car tore down U Street NW, with someone inside firing shots. Some of the mourners had been getting into a tan SUV, which was hit. The SUV then sped down the block, turned down 11th Street, crashed and flipped over.
Metropolitan Police Department officials say one man was found dead in the SUV, and two other shooting victims were taken to area hospitals.
Once the shots were fired, most of the mourners at the funeral ran. Others were left stranded on T Street, as many had parked along the blocked off sections of U Street. The scene near the shooting was chaotic afterwards. Residents, employees of nearby businesses, and people from the funeral milled around as police began an investigation. The crowd hovered along a stretch of police tape, trying catch a glimpse of the upended SUV.
Near 12th and T, a throng of distraught funeral-goers gathered, trying to make sense of the onslaught of tragedies. Among this group were McRae’s cousins and friends. McRae, who lived in Columbia Heights, was found dead last weekend near Fort Stanton Park; days later, Damon Antonio Sams, 22, was charged with second-degree murder. A friend of McRae’s, Antonio Bryant, sounded angry, both about McRae’s death and the shooting today. “I guess this is just life on U Street,” he said.
MPD don’t believe the drive-by shooting was a retaliation for McRae’s death. But the crowd at the funeral seemed to know exactly who was responsible.
Watch video from the scene here: