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'An evil act' | Police have not yet determined a motive in Northwest DC quadruple shooting

Police Chief Robert Contee said investigators have not determined the reason why Raymond Spencer, 23, opened fire in Northwest DC Friday.

WASHINGTON — Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee III says a 23-year-old man from Fairfax, Virginia, is the person suspected in a quadruple shooting in Northwest D.C. Friday afternoon that left two adults in critical condition and injured a 12-year-old girl. 

Contee identified the man Monday as Raymond Spencer.

The shooting happened near the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Van Ness Street NW at 3:20 p.m. Friday, according to MPD Assistant Chief Stuart Emerman.  All the victims were taken to the hospital for treatment and the two adults -- Antonio Harris and Karen Lowry -- were stable but still in critical condition, while the juvenile had minor injuries, Emerman said. A fourth victim, Patricia Termini, was treated on scene after she was grazed in the back by a bullet while sitting in her car. 

Several schools, businesses and apartment buildings in the area were evacuated or asked to shelter in place for safety Friday. A short time later, Spencer was found dead in his apartment at the AVA Van Ness, from which he was firing shots, according to DC Police. 

Credit: DC Police
DC Police say Raymond Spencer is the suspect found dead after a quadruple shooting in Northwest Friday

Contee said police believe Spencer died by suicide while officers were entering a fifth-floor apartment where he had set up a "sniper-type setup" with a tripod. Six firearms, including four long guns, and approximately 800 rounds of unused ammunition, were found inside the apartment. Contee described a "command center" set up inside the bathroom of the apartment, where he said Spencer ultimately died. The chief said he had a laptop, cellphone, pillows, blankets, a long gun and a handgun with him in the bathroom. 

Contee also said a small camera was found in the hallway outside Spencer's apartment, which police believe was recently placed there. The chief said it was "absolutely" set up for the purposes of tracking police as they got to the apartment. 

On Monday, Contee told WUSA9 that the small arsenal of guns included some privately manufactured, so-called ghost guns, as well as automatic weapons. Surveillance footage from the AVA showed Spencer rolling a suitcase in through the lobby the day before the shooting. 

The investigation into the shooting continued Monday. Contee said no specific motive has come to the forefront.

"No particular motive just yet. I think this is a classic case of a lone wolf sniper," Contee said Monday. "Hatred, pure evil, whatever reason ... we are going through electronic devices, that sort of thing, to try to get to what the actual motive was."

Contee said, so far, police have not found any specific connection between Spencer and the Edmund Burke School. However, when asked by reporters if he believed the school to be the target of the shooting, Contee said his gut was telling him yes. 

"It's hard to say 100% yes, but my gut says based on where he was shooting and his location ... we can't rule it out," the chief said. 

He said why the school would be a target was the unanswered question. 

Contee also noted that Spencer had been estranged from his family "for some time" and said he had gone to Wheaton High School, and spent a short amount of time in the U.S. Coast Guard. 

RELATED: 'Hold your children close' | Private school near Van Ness shooting closes for day of 'mental and physical' recovery

RELATED: Police: Suspected gunman in quadruple NW shooting found dead in apartment with 'sniper-type setup'

A video purportedly recorded by Spencer while he opened fire in Northwest D.C. made the rounds on social media shortly after the incident. Audio recorded what sounded like 60 gunshots in a 19-second span. On Monday, Contee said Spencer "indiscriminately" fired at least 200 rounds. 

Investigators with MPD and their ATF partners confirmed illegal automatic weapons were used in the shooting.

RELATED: Video purportedly recorded by DC shooter reveals more than 60 gunshots over a 19-second span, taking aim at school window

Contee said as the investigation continues, there is no indication of prior law enforcement contacts or mental health issues. 

Spencer rented the apartment at the AVA Van Ness in January 2022, according to Contee. D.C.'s Department of Forensic Services is still conducting its investigation of the building. The fifth-floor apartment gave Spencer a direct view of Edmund Burke School. 

Police also investigated a residence in Fairfax County allegedly belonging to Spencer. Contee said police believe he had moved into that apartment in February 2021. From the Fairfax residence, police confiscated the constructs of three more long gun rifles and thousands of rounds of ammo.

"We don't know what we don't know at this point," Contee said. "We can't classify it as anything. Just an evil act that occurred in the District of Columbia."

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