A reward for information to capture a suspect has increased to $50,000 in the deadly stray bullet killing of a D.C. woman who was sitting next to her young son inside an SUV when the gunfire hit her.
Pamela Thomas, 54, was sitting next to her 8-year-old son in the back seat when she was struck as the SUV passed near the 600 block of Division Avenue NE on Wednesday, Feb. 9.
Marilyn Walker said she had just picked up 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.
The stray bullet fatally struck Thomas as the car drove across from Marvin Gaye Park.
"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.
Police chased the shooter who they believe is as young as 15. But he got away.
Several agencies have brought the total possible reward amount for the case to $50,000. D.C. police are offering a reward of up to $25,000; the ATF Washington Field Division offered an additional $15,000 and the FBI Washington Field Office offered an extra $10,000.
Police released these photos of the suspect:
Police are asking anyone with information to call 202-727-9099 or submit anonymous information to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by sending a text message to 50411.
D.C. police announced the new reward in the case during a news conference Friday about a partnership with the ATF, FBI and the DEA. It's an effort to reduce crime amid a spike in homicides.
"We're talking about crimes that scare the hell out of people. I want to make sure that we are doing everything that we possibly can. We are sparing no resource - federal or local resource," Police Chief Robert Contee said.
Authorities will focus crime-fighting efforts in four specific areas in the sixth and seventh police districts. Last year, 23% of homicides happened in those areas of the city, police said.
The announcement of the partnership came after a new poll showed Mayor Muriel Bowser’s approval has declined due to a rise in crime.
Residents who live in the communities affected most by the increase in homicides attended the news conference and generally supported the partnership. Some agreed with city leaders that law enforcement can’t stop the violence alone, and that the community plays an important role
"Clearly what we’ve been doing up until this point hasn't worked the way in which we want it to, but we can't just dismiss any effort. We have to continuously be creative and try different things," ANC Commissioner Salim Adofo said.
"Sounds like they’re about to step something up and people better be worried. So, if you’re out there breaking the law you better be worried because they stepping their game up," resident Kevin Coleman said.
The chief said the partnership will be year-round and begin March 1.