Police Wanted Drive-By Suspect Locked Up Last Week
UPDATED 11:40 P.M.
In the days leading up to last night's horrendous drive-by shooting in Washington Highlands, police had sought an arrest warrant for one of the men thought to have carried out the crime.
Simms Carter, 26 20, now under arrest for the deadly drive-by, was suspected by police to have played a part in the March 22 killing of Jordan Howe, 20, on Alabama Avenue SE.
Police took evidence to prosecutors last week seeking arrest warrants for
Simms Orlando Carter and Sanquan Carter, 19, who are brothers. But prosecutors determined that the evidence would only support a warrant for Sanquan. (The warrant was subsequently issued, and he was arrested.)
Sources indicate that
Simms Orlando Carter was then targeted in a retaliatory shooting on Chesapeake Street SE, which failed. He was grazed by a bullet and hospitalized, before leaving the hospital last week.
On Friday, LL is told, police summoned an emergency meeting with prosecutors, but without an eyewitness to finger
Simms Orlando Carter as having a part in the Howe killing, prosecutors declined to take the warrant to a judge.
Channing Phillips, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office, confirms that police sought a warrant from his office. "Our officials did not feel at the time that there was sufficient evidence ...but we were willing to keep working with [police], and did, to gather additional evidence."
Howe Carter allegedly orchestrated yesterday's drive-by as payback for the attempt on his own life. Four died in the attack; five are wounded. Besides Simms, Nathaniel Simms Carter, 20, and an unnamed juvenile have been arrested.
What's behind this brazen outburst of violence?
"It's all over a bracelet," says Ron Moten, the longtime gang interventionist formerly of the Peaceoholics. "Costume jewelry."
At a vigil last week for Howe, Moten says that attendees said the whole beef centered around a "fake diamond" bracelet that Howe had.
Now the beef has enveloped the streets of Washington Highlands, centering on South Capitol Street between Atlantic and Chesapeake Streets.
Says Moten, "That area's called Ground Zero."
UPDATE, 11:40 P.M.: Due to a transcription error, LL misnamed the suspect who was allegedly involved in both the Howe murder and the Tuesday drive-by. The suspect is Orlando Carter, not 'Orlando Simms.' Another suspect arrested Tuesday night was Nathaniel Simms, 26. Also, Orlando Carter is 20, not 26, and he is the brother of Sanquan Carter, arrested in connection with the Howe killing.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier, after a press conference tonight, addressed the chronology that led up to the Tuesday shooting. Last Monday, March 22, Howe was murdered in the early morning hours. Police identified two suspects—now identified as the Carter brothers. Prosecutors immediately presented a search warrant for Sanquan to a judge, and he was arrested on Tuesday. The evidence behind Orlando, however, was thinner, and prosecutors would not sign off. Meanwhile, Orlando was shot and wounded on Tuesday, seven hours after his brother is arrested. He was taken to a hospital—by helicopter, according to Lanier—where he was "uncooperative with hospital staff and walked away." And police, meanwhile, were working with the U.S. attorney's office to get a warrant to a judge, to no avail.
"I don't have a problem picking up the phone and calling any of the federal agencies," said Lanier. "When I need them to help me, I go to the phone and I call them, and they come. And, yes, I did pick up the phone, I called them, and they came." There was a meeting on Friday to discuss the warrant, but no movement. Prosecutors would not agree to take the evidence to a judge.
Lanier said this about that decision: "I'm a police officer and I can only think like one. And, you know what, we don't always agree with the U.S. attorney's office. Sometimes we have a difference of opinion, and my goal is to stop more people from being injured. When we submit an arrest warrant, the U.S. attorney's office has to make a decision. Do we always agree? No. But the bottom line is we don't go forward until we do."