A mother struck and killed by a stray bullet as the car she was inside passed by someone firing a gun in Northeast D.C. on Wednesday was sitting next to her 8-year-old son in the back seat, her sister who was driving the SUV told News4.
Marilyn Walker said she had just picked up her sister Pamela Thomas and her nephew to go back to Walker's home in Maryland for a birthday party in the afternoon when she heard the gunfire shatter through her back windshield.
"I realized when something happened when my glass had shattered. In the back I heard a pow!" Thomas' sister Marilyn Walker told News4.
A stray bullet fatally struck Thomas as the car drove near the 600 block of Division Avenue NE across from Marvin Gaye Park.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
"Her son got out the back passenger side and hollered 'My mom! They shot [my mom]!' So I ran around there and she was slouched over in the back seat of my car," Walker said.
Officers who were nearby came to help when they heard gunshots and heard screams coming from Walker's SUV.
"I went kind of crazy, you know, I was screaming, you know, 'why?'"
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
Detectives confirmed Thomas was not the intended target, but an innocent victim hit when a gunman was shooting at someone else as they drove through the area.
Thomas was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time after the shooting. She was 54.
Police chased the shooter who they believe is as young as 15. But he got away.
"I advise you young folks to put the guns down. Pick up more books. Stop the violence. Stop killing one another," Walker said.
The shooting was one of four reported in D.C. within a 20-minute span.
Thomas is the latest victim to die in a shooting as police try to combat a rise in violence and get guns off the streets.
Walker says her sister was fun-loving, funny and a devoted to her son
"This boy, my nephew, lost a mother that was so dear to him. Please turn yourself in. Don’t make them have to come and get you," she said.
Contee asked for members of the public to call police if they have any information about the shooting or suspect. A reward of up to $25,000 is available for information leading to an arrest.