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Another arrest in South Capitol Street shootings

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Local,DC,Crime,Bill Myers

D.C. police have arrested a 21-year-old believed to be the final suspect in one of the District's deadliest shootings in decades.

Jeffrey Best was arrested by U.S. Marshals deputies Monday morning. He was named in a warrant last week and charged with first-degree murder in a March 30 rampage on South Capitol Street that left four youngsters dead and another five wounded.

"While I know this does not alleviate the pain caused by these heinous acts, this arrest closes a chapter in this tragedy," Chief Cathy Lanier said Monday in a news release.

With Best in cuffs, police hope they've closed the case in which city officials admitted last week that they wrongly accused and locked up a 14-year-old boy.

Best is the sixth man charged in what authorities believe to be a spiraling cycle of revenge that started over some costume jewelry. On March 22, Jordan Howe was killed at a raucous party on Alabama Avenue. Authorities say that Sanquan Carter, 19, a runaway from the city's juvenile justice agency, was enraged to discover someone had swiped his gold-colored bracelet. He and his brother, Orlando, are accused of opening fire on a crowd, killing Howe.

Sanquan Carter was arrested the next day, but Orlando Carter was shot in the face. He suffered a graze wound and walked away from a hospital.

On March 30, Howe was buried. Prosecutors allege that Orlando Carter and three friends --Best, Robert Bost, 22, and Nathaniel Simms, 26 --piled into a rented minivan to seek revenge for Orlando Carter's shooting. They shot one man in a housing project on Martin Luther King Avenue and, fleeing from that scene, saw a crowd of mourners gathered on South Capitol Street.

Police officers were responding to the King Avenue shooting and saw the rampage on South Capitol Street. A furious car chase went to Prince George's County and back before four men bailed out of the car in Southeast near a high school.

Inside the school was the 14-year-old, who was a juvenile justice runaway. When he saw police chasing the car's driver, he threw his hands up, apparently thinking he was being arrested for having absconded from the juvenile justice system.

Authorities have also charged 22-year-old Lamar Williams as an accessory to the rampage. Prosecutors say Williams supplied the AK-47 that was used in the Howe homicide and the South Capitol Street rampage.

bmyers@washingtonexaminer.com

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