DC police charge suspect after woman shot while driving in NW

A woman is in custody who D.C. police say shot and killed a woman while the two were inside the same car in Northwest on Thursday afternoon.

Ariel Cooper, 39, of Northwest D.C. was arrested and charged with second-degree murder while armed on Thursday.

The shooting occurred at 12:20 p.m. in the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and N Street NW, near Dunbar High School.

The victim was the driver, Sophia Johnson, 38, of Fort Washington, Maryland. She died at the scene.

In a court hearing Saturday, it was revealed that Cooper tested positive for phencyclidine, or PCP. Court records also state a cigarette and filter were found in the car, and that police claim it had a strong odor consistent with the drug.

Police arrived to find a single vehicle crashed into a telephone pole, across the street from a D.C. Fire and EMS station. First responders said that Johnson had no signs of life when they arrived.

Third District Cmdr. James Boteler said police believe the incident occurred while Johnson was stopped at a red light.

“As the red light turned green, we believe the gunfire erupted from within the vehicle. The vehicle then traveled through the intersection and, assumingly because she was shot, she crashed into the telephone pole. That’s our assumption at this point,” Boteler said.

The commander said police have witnesses that lead them to believe their theory is correct.

More than one gunshot was fired, Boteler said, and the vehicle sitting next to Johnson’s car at the intersection was also struck. The driver of that vehicle was not injured.

It was stated that as many as 11 shots may have been fired inside the car. The gun found in the car was a 9 millimeter, with a 13 round cartridge.

Cooper is being held without bond pending another hearing set for mid November.

Below is a map of the approximate area of where it happened:

WTOP’s Jessica Kronzer contributed to this report.

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