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DC Gunman Had Fully-Automatic Weapons, May Have Gotten Apartment For Sniper Location

Washington, DC – Officials released more terrifying details about the gunman who fired more than 200 rounds on a DC street on Friday, striking four random people – including a child – waiting for dismissal at a tony private prep school across the street.

“We know that an excess of over 200 rounds were fired from this sniper, from this apartment on Van Ness Street,” DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Robert Contee told reporters, according to FOX News.

“We know that he had 800 rounds – un-spent, un-shot rounds – at his disposal inside his location in Van Ness,” Chief Contee said.

The police chief said that gunman – later identified as 23-year-old Raymond Spencer – had set up a camera in the 5th floor hallway of the apartment building in the 2900-block of Van Ness Street so that he could watch officers approach, NW, FOX News reported.

Spencer opened fire randomly on pedestrians and people in cars on Van Ness Street and Connecticut Avenue, NW.

Four people were shot outside the Edmund Burke School, two of whom remained in critical condition at area hospitals on Monday, FOX News reported.

One of the victims in critical condition is a retired DC police officer.

Police still do not have a motive for the gunman’s rampage, FOX News reported.

“He certainly intended to do what he did. I just don’t know why,” Chief Contee said. “Had he waited a few minutes, when there’s dismissal going on, he wouldn’t have had to shoot at a window or cars. He could have actually shot at more people who were on the street at that point. It’s hard to say at this point.”

Investigators are still identifying property, vehicles, and businesses that were struck by gunfire, FOX News reported.

“The velocity of a bullet fired from a long gun can go thousands of yards and certainly in this case, some of the bullets did,” Chief Contee explained. “We know that a number of vehicles in the immediate area and buildings were struck by gunfire, but it’s going to take as long as it has to take for us to get to the bottom of it.”

The police chief said that nine guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition had been collected by investigators after the shooting at the Van Ness Street apartment and another residence occupied by Spencer in Fairfax County, FOX News reported.

Police recovered four long guns and two handguns in the apartment that held Spencer’s sniper’s nest with a tripod set up at the window.

Chief Contee said three of the long guns had been modified into fully automatic weapons, FOX News reported.

Three additional long gun constructs and thousands of rounds of ammunition were stored in the Virginia apartment that Spencer had been renting since February of 2021.

“Some of these weapons are pretty expensive weapons. Some of the scopes that were purchased for these weapons were pretty expensive as well,” Chief Contee said, according to WTOP. “As we dig into the investigation, we’ll try to learn more about, you know, how he financed the weapons.”

Investigators determined that the gunman rented the Van Ness Street apartment in January and surveillance video showed him wheeling suitcases into the building, FOX News.

Police said the apartment was sparsely furnished and investigators were trying to determine if it had been rented for the sole purpose of being Spencer’s sniper nest.

Chief Contee said Spencer shot himself inside the apartment’s bathroom as officers made entry to the front door, FOX News reported.

The front door of the apartment had been blocked by a refrigerator, according to the police chief.

He said that Spencer didn’t leave any notes to explain the motivation behind the shooting spree, FOX News reported.

“We’re trying to understand all the different facets of this investigation. Financially, how was he able to purchase these firearms and rent these two apartments?” Chief Contee asked.

“There are a lot of things that we need to know that we don’t know,” the chief continued. “But I am certain through collaboration with our community partners, as well as with our federal partners that we will no doubt get to the bottom of this.”

Investigators are continuing to comb Spencer’s online activity to try and learn more about what inspired his rampage, FOX News reported.

Spencer attended Wheaton High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, and worked as a lifeguard in the area at some point.

Chief Contee said the gunman spent a few months in the U.S. Coast Guard in 2017, but the details of his release were not known, FOX News reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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