WASHINGTON — A video purportedly recorded by the alleged shooter while he opened fire in Northwest D.C. made the rounds on social media shortly after the incident that left four people wounded.
The suspected shooter apparently died by suicide while officers were entering a fifth-floor apartment Friday night where he had set up a "sniper-type setup" with a tripod, police said. Six firearms, including several long guns, and multiple rounds of ammunition, were found inside the apartment.
After the video surfaced on social media, a team of WUSA9 journalists spent hours verifying the images and breaking them down to learn more about the savage nature of this attack.
What we have learned from studying the images, is that even more people, including children, could have been critically injured in this mass shooting.
We want to warn you: these images are traumatic to take in.
But we feel it’s important to be transparent with all of you, our views, and ensure everyone understands just how horrific this act was.
The 30-second-long video was posted to the message board website 4Chan under the same Raymond Spencer. Earlier Friday, police named 23-year-old Spencer of Fairfax, Virginia, as a person of interest in the shooting. In a news conference Friday night, DC Police Chief Robert Contee announced that the suspected shooter was found dead, did not give his identity pending family notification, but said that they had stopped looking for the person of interest.
WUSA9 counted more than 60 gunshots over a 19-second span with the shooter reloading once in the middle of the 2 volleys of bullets.
The video itself is unstable at times and the sheer terror of it all is seen more clearly in freeze frames taken from the footage.
The shooter appears to have modified the camera to include a red bull's-eye on the screen. First, taking aim at a poster for a recent fundraiser in the Edmund Burke School window. A few frames later, after the shots start, you can see four bullet holes in that same window. Just feet away, a young student appears to be ducking.
A couple of frames later, the bull's-eye in the video appears to be tracking the students as they run for their lives. Then the shooter turns his sights back on the street and a person in a yellow vest who dives between parked cars to shield himself from the gunfire.
When asked about the video that has been circulated on social media purportedly recorded by the shooter, Contee said his department was still investigating the origins of the video.
"We don't know if it was streamed live or recorded and then posted," Contee said. "It looks very much to be authentic but we just want to make sure of that."
Several schools, businesses and apartment buildings in the area were evacuated or asked to shelter in place for safety. After six hours, UDC lifted its shelter in place order just before 9:15 p.m.
"Unfortunately I had to look in parents' eyes tonight who are terrified," D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said. "They were terrified thinking of what might happen to their children. We have experienced this too much in our country. The epidemic of gun violence, the easy access to weapons has got to stop. People should not be scared taking their children to school."