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A 23 year-old named a person-of-interest in a Washington DC shooting that injured four has been found dead in a gun-strewn apartment close to the scene that police described as a ‘sniper-like setup.’
Raymond Spencer, from Fairfax in Virginia, was found deceased in an apartment bathroom close to the Van Ness neighborhood Friday, hours after a man opened fire from an apartment window, injuring three adults and a 12 year-old girl. It is unclear how he died, NBC4 reported.
The man shot himself, according to The Washington Post, citing two individuals familiar with the matter. They also said that cops are now combing posts Spencer is believed to have made on internet forum 4Chan, including one said to have been posted four minutes after Friday’s shooting.
That message read: ‘Dear God please forgive me.’
Another one sent six minutes later said: ‘They’re in the wrong part of the building right now searching XD,’ with the ‘XD’ symbol designed to look like a laughing face when viewed from the side.
One final message posted six minutes after that read: ‘Waiting for police to watch up with me.’ The Post also reported that a Wikipedia user’s page for Spencer described him as an ‘AR-15 aficionado’.
The Metropolitan Police Department posted photos of the stockpile of firearms found in Spencer’s apartment.
Washington police Chief Robert J. Contee III said that his officers found six firearms, including long guns, hand guns and ammunition, as well as a tripod used to mount rifles in the apartment where Spencer was found dead. Contee said that police believe the weapons were obtained legally based on preliminary information.
Contee said Spencer had a ‘sniper-like setup’ in the a fifth-floor apartment overlooking the scene and Edmund Burke School, an independent grade 6-12 school in the area.
He evoked the infamous Beltway Sniper attacks of 2002 that killed 10 people in the area: ‘It appears this person was shooting randomly at anyone who was out there. There could have been a lot of damage done, and lives lost.’
Contee added he’s still trying to figure out a motive and does not know that Spencer specifically targeted the school but declared the community safe.
Raymond Spencer, 23, has been named a person of interest in Friday’s shooting, and has been urged to turn himself in by DC Metropolitan police
Cops are now combing posts Spencer is believed to have made on internet forum 4Chan, including one said to have been posted four minutes after Friday’s shooting. That message read: ‘Dear God please forgive me’
Spencer appeared to give play-by-play to his fellow 4chan users after the shooting
Before his body was found, DC Metropolitan Police shared images of Raymond Spencer of Fairfax, Virginia, and urged him to turn himself in following Friday’s shooting in the Van Ness area of the city.
The victims included a 54-year-old man, a woman in her 30s, a woman in her mid-60s who was grazed in the back by a bullet, and a 12-year-old girl who was shot in the arm, Police Assistant Chief Stuart Emerman said. All of the victims were expected to recover. following the incident at Van Ness and Connecticut Avenue.
The woman who was grazed told reporters that she was waiting to pick up a child and would’ve been hit had she not been lying low in her car.
It began around 3:30pm ET Friday, with locals reporting seeing a man in a black t-shirt taking shots from a window. The suspect subsequently fled the scene, and is still being sought by cops.
Terrifying video footage posted online appears to show a camera attached to the rifle itself as the gunman takes shots.
‘It looks very much to be authentic,’ Contee said of the video, but clarified that it still needed to be forensically confirmed and it was not known if the video was live-streamed or uploaded afterward.
Police were seen escorting a man in a black graphic t-shirt in handcuffs toward a police car around 4.30pm, although Spencer remains on the loose.
Stuart Emerman, Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Chief of Technical and Analytical Services Bureau, said officers did detain people running from the scene but he did not believe that any suspects were in custody as of a Friday evening press conference.
He added that the victims have been hospitalized but are in ‘stable condition.’
An unverified video has been circulating social media that people are claiming the gunman took of him shooting victims. Emerman said they could not yet verify that the video was related.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke Friday and thanked first responders and offered prayers for the victim.
Police are reportedly entering the AVA building on Connecticut and Van Ness Avenue wearing riot gear and armed with guns, a local reported. Dozens of cop cars and emergency vehicles have flooded the streets and office can be seen taking ‘defensive positions,’ according to a Fox 5 livestream.
Groups of people were seen being escorting by police, some running alongside police.
Police were seen escorting a pan in handcuffs from the scene
The shooting reported started from the AVA apartment building (pictured)
Police were running to escort both people and their pets away from the scene of the shooting
Assistant Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Stuart Emerman (C) and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (R) speak during a press conference
Metropolitan and Secret Service Police lead a man in handcuffs away from a shooting. Police Chief Stuart Emerman said that they were merely detaining witnesses and had no suspects in custody
People on social media reported hearing heavy gunfire in the area, with multiple social media videos depicting the sound of heavy, rapid fire gunshots. Witnesses told Fox 5 that they heard at least 100 gunshots go off in the area.
A mass casualties unit is reportedly heading toward the scene and a shelter in place order has been put in place. UDC-Van Ness campus is now in lockdown and students have been told to shelter in place until further notice.
A mother heard from her eleventh-grade son at Edmund Burke School that he heard multiple gunshots and the students have since taken cover. Another father reported he saw some of the school’s windows were broken, according to NBC Washington.
A group of Edmund Burke ninth-graders have been pictured hiding in a liquor store, according to WUSA 9.
‘This is the worst nightmare any parent can have,’ another parent told NBC Washington.
The DC police reported they are at the scene and the streets have been flooded with police equipment. Local schools are also issuing lockdown orders
Police are seen with longarm guns, taking defensive position around cars
Two officers were seen with ballistic shields and guns near the shooting incident
Police were seen running with groups of people down the street, escorting them to safety
Police evacuate people near the scene of the shooting in Northwest Washington
Police evacuate people near the scene of a shooting. Many had to run to get away
An FBI tactical team deploys from an armored vehicle at the scene of a reported shooting and active shooter near Edmund Burke Middle School in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Northwest Washington
A Howard Law School student, who did not give her name, told WUSA 9 that she was on her lunch break when heard multiple gunshot go off.
‘It was an entire standstill, everybody stopped their cars,’ she said. ‘We were bumper to bumper. We didn’t know what to do…Then we heard another round go off, at least 20 shots. We started to go down Van Ness and all the cars stopped again, and we heard another round go off. We didn’t know how close the bullets were so we just stopped right there.’
She also reported seeing children and adults running down the street.
Parents are waiting near Edmund Burke as the children are in lockdown inside.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive (ATF) are also assisting DC Police. Police have been seen with longarm guns and taking defensive positions behind cars and other vehicles, Fox 5 reported. Secret Service is also reportedly assisting the situation, according to NBC Washington.
These streets are currently closed: Connecticut Avenue Northwest between Sedgwick and Yuma streets; Tilden Street between Reno Road and 29th Street Northwest, and Van Ness Street at Connecticut Avenue Northwest, according to WTOP News.
The gunfire erupted just as parents were picking up their children from the Edmund Burke School, a private college preparatory school, sending frantic parents running from the scene and putting Burke and other nearby schools on immediate lockdown.
Bibi Stewart of Anne Arundel, Maryland, was approaching the line to pick up her 12-year-old twins when she heard the gunfire ring out. She said it sounded like the shots were coming from above and at a distance.
‘They did it right at dismissal,’ she said.
Stewart said she saw glass shattering in a bridge connecting different wings of the school and she saw the tires of cars in the pickup line shot out.
‘They´re just saying they´re OK’ and hiding in the school with their friends and adults, she said of her children.
Police in tactical gear were seen escorting people – including college students from nearby campuses – out of apartment buildings in the area. Officers pointed their rifles upward toward other buildings and windows as the people moved quickly down the street with their hands raised above their heads.
‘I had to look in parents´ eyes tonight who are terrified … thinking of what might happen to their children,’ District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference. ‘And we have experienced this too much in our country. The epidemic of gun violence, the easy access to weapons, has got to stop. People should not be scared taking their children to school.’
Police were seen near Van Ness and Connecticut Avenues
Street cameras show police blocking the street. It has been reported that police have entered the AVA building in riot gear. The shooter is still at large