The Metropolitan Police Department remains unable to provide an answer as to the motive of a now-dead shooter who opened fire on a school in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Van Ness three weeks ago.
Police Chief Robert Contee said Thursday that there is a lack of evidence surrounding the shooter, identified as 23-year-old Raymond Spencer of Virginia, who opened fire on Edmund Burke School from his apartment April 22 before police say he killed himself. Four people, including a young girl, were injured in the shooting.
“It’s easy when you have a suspect who leaves behind a manifesto and they’re kind of telling you why they did what they did,” Contee said during a press briefing. “In this particular case, he left his fingerprint behind and he left his name behind.”
“His family has not suggested any reason why he did this. Honestly, I just don’t know that answer yet,” Contee said, adding that he would not stop investigating until he found a motive for the “true loner.”
Contee also said investigators have not been able to find Spencer’s cellphone and noted that Spencer had accrued thousands of dollars in credit card debt, according to WUSA9.
The MPD was notified around 3:18 p.m. by William Peterson, an off-duty officer at the school, that shots had been fired. “4101 Connecticut Ave., I believe we have an active shooter here,” Peterson said over the radio as the gunman opened fire on the school’s windows and a pedestrian bridge, according to Contee.
As the gunman was shooting, he was posting on social media websites and taking responsibility for the shooting, Contee said. The gunman had also been updating the Wikipedia page for the school and did not hide his identity online.
Hours after the incident, when Secret Service agents and law enforcement officials had arrived on the scene, the MPD announced that Spencer was a person of interest in the shooting.
Around 8:46 p.m., after officers from the MPD were able to enter Spencer’s fifth-floor apartment, police announced that he had been found dead.
“This really could have been a lot worse than what it was,” Contee told reporters, explaining that six firearms, including four long guns, and around 800 rounds of ammunition had been discovered in the apartment. “He certainly had the firepower. He certainly had the will … and the mindset to do what he did on this particular day.”
Contee also provided an update on the four people who were injured in the shooting. A 12-year-old girl, 56-year-old retired Washington police officer Antonio Harris, and a 47-year-old woman are still recovering from their injuries, according to Contee. Patricia Termini, 63, was treated on the scene for a graze wound on her shoulder.
The Washington Examiner reached out to the MPD for comment.