Police say guard may have exchanged gunfire before being shot

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A security guard who was shot and killed early Sunday in southeastern Washington was in uniform and appears to have exchanged gunfire with a group in a parking lot of an apartment complex he was patrolling, according to a DC police spokesperson.

The 33-year-old guard, Shawn Minor, a father of three who lives in Maryland, was “making his rounds” at The Vistas apartments when he came under fire, according to DC Deputy Chief of Police Andre Wright. A police spokesperson said Minor confronted a group of people before the shooting.

DC police said in a statement Sunday that Minor worked as a special constable, a designation given to licensed district security officers. But a more detailed check of city records on Monday revealed that Minor did not hold a license and was not permitted to possess a firearm, a police spokesperson said.

Authorities said they were working to conclusively identify the security company that Minor worked for. A representative from DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs — which, along with the DC Police, regulates licensed security officers — did not respond to a request for comment.

Wright said detectives recovered multiple bullet casings from various firearms at the scene. “These are perilous times,” Wright said, describing Minor’s murder as a “heinous act.”

Police said no arrests have been made and detectives are trying to determine what prompted the shooting, which happened around 12.20pm in the 2500 block of Elvans Road SE.

Authorities said it appears Minor got out of a vehicle and approached a group of people. The security guard and the group exchanged words, and police say it appears someone from another group shot Minor as he was returning to his vehicle.

Dustin Sternbeck, a police spokesman, said it appears Minor fired back. Sternbeck said a 9mm handgun, modified to fire rapidly as if fully automatic, was found near where Minor fell and was pronounced dead.

There are approximately 15,000 special police and security officers in the district. Special constables have powers of arrest generally limited to the properties to which they are assigned. Some are allowed to carry firearms. Efforts to reach representatives of the security company that police believe may have employed Minor were unsuccessful on Monday.

The block of Elvans Road where the shooting took place has been the scene of violence on several occasions in recent months. Police said in january they were looking for three men suspected of being involved in a shooting there. At the end of December, a 25-year-old man was killed.

In 2018, the DC Attorney General’s Office sued a management company that ran The Vistas in the 2500 block of Elvans Road SE and another apartment complex in the next block of the same street.

The lawsuit alleged that the resorts had been “plagued by persistent gun violence and drug-related crime,” with police responding to more than 280 calls for alleged narcotics and firearms offenses on a period of 18 months.

In 2020, the Attorney General issued a $3.5 million consent judgment with the two resorts that included provisions to improve security, among many other property improvements. The attorney general’s office said the then-owners filed for bankruptcy, but the office continues to monitor the deal with the new owners. Those owners could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Minor’s grandmother, Shirley Minor-Beale, said she raised Minor and her two older brothers and a younger brother in Forestville, Maryland, after their mother passed away many years ago.

Minor-Beale, 76, said her grandson recently decided to “do something positive with his life” and became a security guard.

Minor lived with his grandmother but was often with his three children – girls aged 3 and 13 and a 12-year-old boy, Minor-Beale said. While she knew her grandson was a security guard, she said she didn’t know where he was posted until a friend of hers called after midnight on Sunday and told him he had been shot.

She said her husband drove her about 20 minutes to the apartment complex, but she couldn’t get near the parking lot. She said the police would let her have access to her son’s body. “I had no idea he was in such a dangerous place,” Minor-Beale said.

She said police gave her no information about the shooting or what might have prompted her. Addressing a message to city leaders, she said, “Get rid of those guns.”


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