Nine Shot. Four Dead. Was It All Really Over A Bracelet?
On March 22, Jordan Howe was shot and killed inside a parked car along the 1300 block of Alabama Avenue SE. Howe's death may have set in motion a string of events leading to the mass shooting eight days later along the 4000 block of South Capital Street. That drive-by left five people injured and four dead.
Even before the first candles had been lit at the first vigil, police had made arrests in the case and had sponsored a motive in court documents, and to the media.
It was all about a missing bracelet. WaPo had reported:
"Based on evidence and interviews thus far, authorities think the attack was part of a cycle of retaliation spawned a week ago by suspicions of petty theft. 'It looks to be just that silly,' said one law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.
Investigators said they think the mass shooting in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street in the Washington Highlands neighborhood is linked to the fatal shooting of Jordan Howe, 20, in Southeast Washington a week earlier. That incident was prompted by a man's anger over his missing gold-colored bracelet, according to investigators and court documents. At least some of the victims Tuesday had just attended Howe's funeral, law enforcement officials said."
At a court hearing on Monday, a detective reiterated the bracelet theory. But maybe there's another motive. According to court records, this isn't the only infamous shooting linked to Jordan Howe.
In the summer of 2008, several shooting incidents rocked the Trinidad neighborhood. The incidents provoked a similar sense of outrage and WaPo headlines. The incidents led D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier to set up controversial checkpoints in that neighborhood. Over the course of several months, Trinidad shootings had left 11 wounded and two dead including a 13-year-old who was in town visiting relatives.
The shooting death of 13-year-old Alonzo Robinson took place in the middle of several shootings in the early morning hours of July 19, 2008. Later that night in the Kenilworth neighborhood, Tanesha Ford and Robert Johnson Jr. were shot along the 4500 Block of Quarles Street NE. Prosecutors contend that these shootings are connected.
So where does Jordan Howe come in?
Several months later, on October 7, 2008, U.S. Marshals responded to 2410 Good Hope Road, Apt. 203 to facilitate an eviction. The apartment was rented by Diane Howe, Jordan's mother. According to court records, the Marshals had suspected—from the building's manager—that the apartment was a "heavy drug unit" and "subjects inside were possibly armed."
After showing Howe the eviction papers, a marshal observed three other individuals in the apartment: Ricky Gassaway, Pierce Bell, and Jordan Howe. The marshal asked all to exit the property.
Court records show that the marshal spotted a silver revolver on the floor between Gassaway and Bell. He also found plastic baggies containing a "white rock substance." D.C. Police officers from the narcotics division were called in.
In Jordan Howe's bedroom, officers found a Hi-Point semi-automatic 9mm Luger tucked under his mattress. Police records show Howe as the listed owner of the Hi-Point.
According to police records, the Hi-Point matched the shell casings found in the shooting of Tanesha Ford and Robert Johnson in Kenilworth.
Howe, who was 18 at the time, was never charged in connection to the Kenilworth shooting. Nor did he pick up any charges related to the police search of his mother's house that day.
Instead, prosecutors have charged Antonio "Tone" (or "Tone Loc") McAllister, Joshua Benton, and Christian Benton with Robinson's death and the related Trinidad shootings.
Those shootings, prosecutors allege in court filings, had a domino effect. Shortly after those shootings, Marcus Brown, Kevin Gross, William McCorkle, and Jeffery Tuckson, and others "concluded that individuals from the Kenilworth neighborhood" were responsible. They got into a silver Infiniti and headed to Kenilworth.
It was there that Brown and Co., prosecutors allege, opened fire on Antonio McAllister. During the shooting, they ended up wounding Tanesha Ford and Robert Johnson Jr.
So what about Howe's Hi-Point found under his mattress? It is unclear even now whether Howe was a potential suspect in that case or a potential witness. What was his relationship to Trinidad and Kenilworth? Did his connection to those shootings lead to his death?
*file photo by Darrow Montgomery.