Around 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, a shooting took place on U Street Corridor between 11th and 13th streets, leaving one person dead, another injured and the usually vibrant community up in arms.
The victim was identified as Jamal Coates.
“Crazy, hurting news,” said Gyu Young, Coates’ cousin and a Northwest resident. Young paced on the sidewalk, with a cigarette in his hand and plump tears in his eyes. He said Coates was a 20-year-old high school senior.
Young was at work at Benjamin Banneker when he heard gunshots about an hour and 45 minutes before he arrived on the scene. He didn’t think anything of them, until his nephew called and broke the news to him. Young’s nephew found out from Coates’ sister, who had just attended a funeral for Ashley McRae, at Walker Memorial Baptist Church, 2020 13th St. N.W.
“I had to leave work,” Young said. He called his boss then rushed to the scene.
“My cousin is still lying there,” Young said around 2:30 p.m. Coates’ body lay under white sheets on the street. The two were very close, Young said.
Young had been hearing conflicting reports, some saying the shooting occurred from a car and others saying that there was a person on location outside the funeral who started the gunshots.
“I don’t have no idea,” Young added, shaking his head.
Another man was treated and released at Howard University Hospital, said Ron Harris, director of communications for the university.
Police closed the road from the intersection at Vermont and U Street to about four blocks up pass the 13th and U Street metro exit.
At 5:30 p.m., a rush of daytime workers arriving at the metro station were told they could only use the 10th and U Street exit because of an emergency. An officer stood at the entrance of the station to let patrons know they could only turn left towards Georgia Ave. or head up on Vermont. Residents living near the blockaded street were not allowed to go home.
Businesses in the area, including Rite Aid and popular eatery Ben’s Chili Bowl had to shut down due to the street closure.
Wilmer Sorto, a 23-year-old shift manager at the CVS located at 1000 U Street next to the 10th and U Street metro exit, arrived at the scene around 3 p.m. and was told by an administrator from Banneker High School that there had been a murder. He was unable to reopen the store until 7 p.m., when police finally cleared the streets.
According to the Associated Press, 21-year-old Brandon Miller was arrested around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in connection with the shooting. Washington Metropolitan Police are still looking for a second suspect, who was said to have driven away after the shooting.