Suspects freed days before killings

Local,News,DC,Crime,Bill Myers

All 3 were in custody prior to mass shooting

All three of the suspects in last week's quadruple homicide had been in custody just days before the carnage, only to slip through the hands of authorities in a series of missteps, the Washington Examiner has learned.

Malik Carter, 14, who is charged as a juvenile with four counts of first-degree murder, fled a center run by Alternative Solutions-Youth on March 22, a source with knowledge of his record said.

It was his second escape and, a city hall source said, officials in the juvenile justice agency were warned that he was on the loose. His first escape occurred on the night he was delivered to Alternative Solutions in February, a source said.

Juvenile agency spokesman Reggie Sanders declined comment. Alternative Solutions officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

Carter's escape was just one of several missed opportunities in the days before the quadruple killings. All three of the alleged killers had been known to law enforcement or city officials.

"It's putting people out on the street who are time bombs," said Councilwoman Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3.

Four people died and five were wounded after four men fired into a crowd on South Capitol Street. Authorities allege that the mayhem was the climax of a cycle of vengeance that had started over a stolen piece of costume jewelry.

Alleged triggermen Orlando Carter, 20, and Nathanial Simms, 26, had each been in custody in the days before the attacks. Orlando Carter, too, had a juvenile record.


Arrested development  

The juvenile records of three accused killers:

»  Orlando Carter: Released from custody by the juvenile justice agency in March 2006 (file incomplete).

»  Sanquan Carter: Arrests dating from 2001, including assault with a dangerous weapon, theft, receipt of stolen property, threats, aggravated assault, assault on a police officer.

»  Malik Carter: Arrests dating from 2005, including receipt of stolen property theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle, assault and robbery.







"What every one of these individuals had in common was we had them in custody before," police union Chairman Kris Baumann said. "If we had real mandatory minimum sentencing and a real system of dealing with criminals, these people wouldn't have been out."

Simms was convicted of possession of marijuana on March 17 but his sentence was suspended.

He had previously skipped a hearing in a 2008 domestic violence case, but the case was dismissed. In 2009, he was accused of threatening his girlfriend with a 9 mm pistol.

Orlando Carter had been named in a bench warrant after he failed to appear for a marijuana possession hearing. The judge released him without further discipline when he turned himself in on March 22.

Authorities allege that the three, along with an unidentified fourth man, opened fire on a crowd of mourners who had just left the funeral of their friend Jordan Howe.

A third Carter brother, Sanquan, 19, was accused of shooting Howe to death after falsely accusing Howe of stealing a golden bracelet.

Sanquan Carter was on the street awaiting trial on charges that he was driving a vehicle that had been previously carjacked. He, too, had a lengthy juvenile record, including assaults on correctional officers. Officers were so worried about his violence that they wrote to juvenile justice officials to keep him at Oak Hill, the juvenile jail.

D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier has tried to blame prosecutors, claiming that they denied her request to arrest Orlando Carter on suspicion of shooting Howe. Prosecutors say that Lanier's detectives didn't have the proper evidence for an arrest.

"We're letting a group of people back into the community who doesn't need to be there," community activist Ronnie Moten said.


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