1 Killed in Incident After Funeral in U Street Corridor

One person was killed and at least one was injured at about noon Tuesday in an incident in the busy lunchtime area of 13th and U streets NW, News4's Pat Collins reported.

As the funeral for 21-year-old Ashley McRae at Walker Memorial Baptist Church in the 2000 block of 13th Street let out and cars lined up for the funeral procession, shots rang out, Collins reported.

People were getting into a car, presumably to join the funeral procession, when shots were fired at that car, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.

Two cars sped onto U Street where more shots were fired. One car flipped onto its roof, and another crashed into a truck. The incident ended at 11th and U streets.

A witness who said he was part of the McRae funeral procession said that as cars turned off U Street and onto 13th Street he heard a "bam, bam, bam" and panic ensued, News4's Tom Sherwood reported. Another witness said he heard as many as eight shots, then some people started to go back inside the church.

It is unclear if the deceased -- 21-year-old Jamal Coates, of Northwest -- was killed by a gunshot or a car crash, D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer told the Associated Press.

Police said one shooting victim was critically injured and another was grazed, the AP reported.

No suspects are in custody. Police are looking for a light-colored or cream-colored sedan, possibly a Ford Crown Victoria, in connection with the shooting, Cmdr. Jacob Kishter said. Anyone who thinks they may have seen the car should call police at 202-727-9099.

U Street was closed to vehicular traffic for hours between Ninth and 14th streets but has reopened. The 1200 block of U Street was closed to foot traffic. The 13th Street entrance of the U Street-Cardozo Metro Station is temporarily closed but reopened before 6:30 p.m. The 10th and U entrance remained open.

McRae was shot early Sept. 18 after attending a party at a Northeast nightclub. She was found suffering from a gunshot wound in a car in the 2700 block of Bruce Place SE at about 3:30 a.m. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. On Friday, 21-year-old Damon Sams was arrested and charged in connection with McRae's death, Collins reported.

McRae's death was described as domestic in nature -- not gang-related -- but witnesses said members of rival gangs may have been at the funeral to pay their respects to McRae and became involved in a dispute.

ANC Commissioner Bryan Weaver, who was having lunch on U Street when he heard about 10 shots fired quickly and then at least a couple more shortly after, told Collins that he received calls from people who attended the funeral and was told that members of a Columbia Heights crew had exchanged words with members of an Adams Morgan crew.

"This resulted from a taunting," said Councilman Jim Graham. "This was a taunting at a funeral! And we have this kind of a serious consequence as a result.

"The young girl whose funeral was held today, she's dead because she was talking to somebody other than her boyfriend at a club. This is the level that we're dealing with right now in terms of the madness and insanity that permeates these activities."

"It's a continuation of a pattern of violence in this city that's gone on too long," Weaver said.

Police are investigating whether the culprits and victims all had attended the funeral, Kishter said.

"We are absolutely fed up with this madness, which is present today, but it has been present before," said Graham, who returned from vacation when he heard about the shooting. "And we need new legal remedies."

A cousin of Coates told the Associated Press he was not involved in gangs.

Police are fanned out across Northwest looking for clues and for people with information that can help solve the case, as well as trying to prevent possible retaliation.

Stay with NBC4 and NBCWashington.com for more information as it becomes available.

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