Nearly two weeks after a “sniper-type” shooting terrified a Washington, D.C., neighborhood and left the Edmund Burke School on lockdown for hours, the community returned with a touching display of unity.
Students, parents and teachers gathered for an emotional ceremony early Wednesday in the spirit of healing. Then, students walked from the athletic field into the school together — as a community.
Classes resumed for the first time since a gunman opened fire from the fifth floor of an apartment building in D.C.’s Van Ness neighborhood on April 22, injuring three adults and a child. Spencer was later found dead.
Gunshots erupted as students at the Edmund Burke School were preparing to leave for the day. Police say 23-year-old Raymond Spencer of Fairfax, Virginia, fired more than 200 shots.
News4 photographer Tarik Warner attended the ceremony with his daughter, an eighth-grade student.
“It’s been a bonding experience,” Warner said. “It’s part of our narrative now. It’s on us to control the story.”
There are still some reminders of that awful day. A glass-enclosed walkway that was shattered by bullets — leaving some students bleeding — is now covered by metal sheeting.
There are signs of resilience and support too. A homemade sign outside the school reads “Burke Loves You.” A similar sign hangs on the window of an apartment across the street.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee attended the ceremony and said police brought emotional support dogs for the kids.
Wednesday was scheduled as a half-day for students, then normal schedules are set to resume Thursday.