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The Washington Post is reporting that D.C. Police detectives are investigating a triple homicide discovered this afternoon where a woman and two children—ages 8 and 10—were found in a Northeast apartment. The Post writes:
“The slayings occurred at an apartment building in the 2000 block of Maryland Avenue. Several ambulances and police cars were on the scene. Police did not release the names of the victims or say if they were related.
Police took an adult male to the hospital with unidentified injuries. Police sources said the man is a suspect.”
WTOP has characterized the homicides a result of a domestic dispute. The murders occurred inside the Carver Terrace Apartments (a notorious drug gang recently operated out of there). WTOP is also reporting that there was a third child and that child was apparently unharmed and taken by Child Protective Services. WJLA reports that the mother and two children were fatally stabbed:
“It happened…around 2:15 p.m Saturday. An adult male located on scene suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital, police say. A third child, a 4-year-old female, was found uninjured and placed in the care of Child Protective Services.”
Update 6:08 p.m.: From D.C. Police Department’s press office: Officers from the Fifth District had responded to the location to “investigate the trouble.” “There’s been talk that there’s been a stabbing but I can’t confirm that. I don’t have any information right now,” says Officer Helen Andrews.
[Later, Alan Etter, spokesperson for the Fire Department, tells me in an e-mail that Truck 7 was dispatched to the location at 1:44 p.m. “We kept an ambulance around for some time—-for at least three hours…in case any other victims were discovered.”]
Update 6:13 p.m.: This is the message from the 5D listserv that just went out:
“I regret to inform the Fifth District community that we are on the scene of a homicide in the 1900 block of Maryland Ave. NE. Units responded to the location around 1pm and discovered a juvenile and adult who had been assaulted and were deceased. Another adult and juvenile were transported to area hospitals. The juvenile who was transported later died as a result of the injuries sustained during the assault. The adult male is in stable condition. Anyone having information please contact the police department imediately. 202 727 9099”
Update 7 p.m. The Post updated its initial report with some more details:
“D.C. police who were called to the scene forced their way into an apartment and found the woman and two children between the ages of 8 and 10 dead inside, from undetermined wounds….A girl, aged two, was unharmed and was taken from the apartment screaming.”
The Post goes on to report that officials are trying to determine what if any contact the woman and the children had with social service agencies in the past.
The Post writes: “Neighbors said that the woman who was slain was hearing impaired and often did sign language interpretation at gospel concerts in churches around the area.”
Update 7:13 p.m. City Desk just reached Assistant Chief Diane Groomes and was able to get some more details on the tragedy: She stated that at least two officers from the Fifth District were initially called to the scene. The call was to “investigate the trouble.” When they arrived, they could not gain entry.
“They had to call the Fire Board to open the door,” Groomes says. “I’m not sure how long it took them.”
Groomes goes on to state that the man who was found at the scene and was taken to the hospital is currently being interviewed by police. “He’s still at the hospital,” she says.
Groomes adds that the department is “looking to see if there were any radio runs to that address” previously. Child and Family Services has also been called to see if the agency had prior contact with the children, Groomes says.
Update 8:04 p.m. Post updates its story again with more about the still unnamed victims. The man who is being questioned by police was treated for superficial stab wounds to the chest. The story goes on to talk about the children:
“[Neighbors said [the woman] had two older children who often played kickball or football in the courtyard of the apartment building. The surviving toddler girl, neighbors said, often communicated with her mother using sign language.
‘They always complained they didn’t have anywhere to play outside,’ recalled neighbor Paulette Smith, a D.C. corrections employee. ‘Basically they were a good group. One time a rainbow came out and they took pictures of it. All the kids were standing around looking at it. I guess you never know who you are living next to.’
India Henderson, an advisory neighborhood commissioner for the area, said the deaths were ‘a horrific event.’
‘People may have known that there were problems. They need to say something before things like this happen,’ she said.”
Update 8:28 p.m. WJLA reports that neighbors had heard screams and called the police. The network also has more on the adult male being questioned by police:
“‘Basically, he was handcuffed to the stretcher. I think he was the possible suspect in this crime,’ said Jimmy Cox, a neighbor.
Police have not named the suspect who is said to be in stable condition. There are reports he suffered a self-inflicted would; however, police have not confirmed that.
‘Obviously with domestics sometimes it is completely unpredictable. I don’t know if there is anybody that actually could identify and prevent a case like this or a case that involves a domestic,’ said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.
Neighbors say there is a deaf mute mother who lives in the apartment with her three kids, but say the man is not their father.
‘The two young people who lost their lives potentially at the hands of some other person is just an awful, awful thought, something that should just never happen,’ said D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.”
*photo of Carver Terrace Apartments courtesy of the Post.