Raymond Spencer of Fairfax, Va., the person of interest identified in a shooting that injured four people and sent dozens of police officers to the Van Ness neighborhood in response, took his own life, police said.
Spencer was initially identified from a video he posted on social media, showing shots fired from the vantage point of an upstairs window.
The post with the misspelling “Shool shooting” looked “authentic,” said Metropolitan Washington Police Chief Robert Contee, adding that he wasn’t sure whether the footage was live streamed or posted after the incident.
Police had released a bulletin with pictures of Spencer hours earlier, looking for him as the “person of interest” in the investigation.
Schools and property in the Edmund Burke School neighborhood were placed under security lockdown as the shooting and manhunt near the private college’s prep academy left students scared, sending anxious messages to parents.
Police were able to triangulate the suspect’s location on the fifth floor of a “specific apartment building” with the help of eyewitnesses.
They eventually “raided the place where the suspect took his own life,” Contee said, adding that authorities seized more than half a dozen firearms, including several rifles and ammunition from the apartment.
“His intent was to kill and injure members of our community,” but investigators have yet to determine a motive, the chief said, adding that the suspect arranged a “sniper-like setup” with a tripod weapons mount and was acting alone.
All four victims of the shooting were shot at random and are in stable condition, police said. They are expected to recover from their injuries.
The injured include a 54-year-old man, a 30-something woman, a 12-year-old girl and a 60-something woman who was grazed in the upper back by a bullet.
Deaven Rector, 22, a law student, told Reuters he heard three gunshots that appeared to have come from the AVA Van Ness building where he lives. “Right now, the police have secured the area, and it’s safe, but the fact that this kind of chaos can be caused by a maniac on a normal Friday… The kids were just about to leave school,” he said. .
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser praised the response of law enforcement and condemned the epidemic of gun violence in the US.
“Unfortunately, I had to look into the eyes of the parents who were terrified,” she said Friday at the press conference.
“They were terrified of what could happen to their children. We live this way too much in our country, the epidemic of gun violence. Easy access to weapons has to stop. People shouldn’t be afraid to take their kids to school.”