We value your support now more than ever.

All year we’ve been covering the issues that matter most to you—the pandemic, the election, policing, housing, and more—and now our end of year membership campaign is here. Will you support our work to ensure we can bring you the same informative local reporting in 2021?

Recent court documents suggest that the deadly March 30 mass shooting on South Capitol Street SE, which claimed the lives of four and wounded another five, could have been even worse had things gone as originally planned for the alleged killers.

What prevented it? According to court papers, a debit card with insufficient funds.

Opening fire on a group of mourners who were gathered together on South Capitol after attending the funeral of Jordan Howe, 20, was apparently plan B. Prosecutors say the original intention of the alleged mastermind of the shooting, Orlando Carter, 20, who is currently facing murder charges, was to attack Howe’s funeral at St. Augustine Catholic Church on 15th and V Streets NW . There, the crew may have found many more potential victims.

Prosecutors say Carter believed friends and associates of Howe were responsible for shooting him in the shoulder and head in a March 23 incident. Carter is also suspected of having murdered Howe over a bracelet.

Carter survived being shot and allegedly began planning his revenge within days of being released from the Washington Hospital Center. Apparently, figuring he could find plenty of Howe’s friends and associates at the youth’s funeral, a witness told authorities that Carter made an effort to figure out where the event was going to take place. Court documents indicate that Carter said something to the effect of: “I’m gonna fuck that funeral up…”

In order to execute the assault, though, Carter apparently decided he needed a vehicle. After talking with Carter on the phone several times, a witness attempted to help him get a car on March 29, according to court papers. Acquiring a vehicle on that day would leave plenty of time to visit Howe’s funeral, which would be held the next day.

The witness visited a Thrifty Dollar Rent-a-Car in Temple Hills, Md., to rent the automobile with a debit card. But documents say there wasn’t enough money on the debit card to cover the expense.

The witness didn’t give up, however. The next morning, having somehow gotten the necessary funds, the witness again attempted to get a car. The rental car office, however, wasn’t having it. The company has “a rule forbidding the rental of a vehicle to an individual within 24 hours of the time that individual had previously been declined a rental,” court papers show. Carter missed his deadline. Howe’s funeral took place without gunfire.

Later, at about 6 p.m., however, the witness successfully rented a 2009 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan. Having lost the opportunity to descend on the funeral, Carter and three other suspects allegedly decided on ambushing a group of mourners who’d been at Howe’s funeral, and were gathered together on South Capitol.

Nardyne Jefferies, mother of Brishell Jones, 16, says she got a call from her daughter at about 6 p.m. The teen wanted to know if she could go around the corner to drop off a friend’s book bag. The friend was standing on South Capitol. Jefferies gave her permission and mother and daughter exchanged loving remarks before hanging up. At 7:30, Jefferies got another call: “Brishell’s dead, she’s been shot…”