A crowd of people targeted in a drive-by shooting that left four people dead and five wounded had just returned from the funeral of a victim of a recent nearby gun attack.
The group of about 15 people were standing in front of a house in southeastern Washington DC on Tuesday evening when they were gunned down.
Witnesses said they had just returned from a funeral for Jordan Howe, who was killed on March 22 in a separate drive-by shooting.
William Cheek, whose grandson was among the dead, said he had walked across the street to buy a lottery ticket when he heard gunshots.
He turned around and saw many people had fallen to the ground.
“They got shot right on my porch,” said Cheek, a case manager at a local community centre, who returned to the apartment building to find his grandson dying.
“I saw him breathe his last breath,” Cheek said, a tear running down his face. “He was shot in the head.”
Three people arrested
Cheek did not want to identify his 20-year-old grandson, but said he was enrolled in a GED class, played basketball and had hoped to become a long-distance bus driver.
Neighbour Victoria Jones said young people in the area often went to Cheek for support and gathered in front of his house.
Police said the victims were six men and three women but did not release their names.
All were in their 20s and 30s, except for one teenager, fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said.
The DC councilman who represents the area, former Mayor Marion Barry, said a dispute between “crews” – neighbourhood groups that are not as formal as gangs – led to the shooting.
Three people have been arrested, and authorities expect to charge at least two over the killings.
Sanquan Carter, 19, has been charged with second-degree murder over the earlier shooting of Jordan Howe.
Tuesday’s shooting, in Washington DC, was the worst in the district of Columbia in 16 years.