‘Beef’ between 2 DC crews led to Tysons mall shooting, police say

Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, say a shooting Saturday afternoon at Tysons Corner Center that sent panicked shoppers fleeing was the result of “beef” between two rival D.C. crews who encountered each other on the mall’s second floor.

The two crews — the 37th Street Crew and the Simple City Crew, which both operate out Southeast D.C., “were engaged in a beef,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said during a news conference Thursday.

“It started with words; it ended up with a pushing and shoving match and then a display of a firearm,” Davis said. “And then, just minutes later, three shots ring out … three shots in a crowded mall.”

No one was wounded by gunfire, but the shooting sparked panic as shoppers and mall employees fled for the exits or sheltered in nearby stores. Three people were taken to the hospital with injuries.

Noah Settles, 22, of D.C., who Davis said is associated with the 37th Street Crew, was the shooter, according to police. Settles turned himself in Wednesday evening. He has been charged with attempted malicious wounding, discharging a weapon into an occupied building and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The chief said mall surveillance cameras clearly captured Settles brandishing the gun and pulling the trigger, later fleeing the mall in a black Cadillac.

“Thankfully, Tyson’s has made a big public safety investment with cameras, and thank God that they have,” Davis said.

Neither the gun nor the Cadillac have been recovered, Davis said.

Davis said it’s not known what sparked the confrontation between the two groups, or whether they each knew the other would be there before they encountered each other. Each group was made up of about four to five people. The 37th Street Crew was dressed in black; the Simple City Crew wore white.

“What starts as a look, or a gesture or a smirk or an eye roll, turns into a verbal altercation, and then words turn into pushing and shoving. And if it stopped there — that wouldn’t be ideal, but if it stopped there — that’d be a heck of a lot better than an altercation like this, ending with gunfire.”

In response to a question from a reporter about whether Settles may have been acting in self-defense, Davis said after the pushing and shoving, Settles pulled out the firearm and the two groups separated. Minutes went by and the two groups were roughly a football field apart when Settles pulled out the gun again and fired, Davis said.

“I think a self-defense claim is certainly one that he has the right to make,” Davis said. “I think it’s a heck of an uphill battle in my opinion.”

No other arrests have been made, “but there’s every possibility that additional criminal charges against others may occur,” Davis said.

Settles, a rap artist who goes by the name “No Savage,” was identified by police the day after the shooting as the suspected gunman. In response to a question from a reporter about Settles apparently posting on social media while police were looking for him, and even live-streaming his arrest, Davis said police were aware of Settles’ public postings.

“That’s unusual, certainly,” he said.

Following the gunfire, the mall was closed for nearly 24 hours as police investigated and interviewed witnesses.

Tysons Corner Center, the largest mall in the D.C. area, with dozens of stores across three stories and more than 2 million square feet, has a dedicated unit of the Fairfax County Police Department assigned to it.

“When a crisis like this happens … we take it very, very seriously,” Davis said.

He said he’s received many personal phone calls, asking whether the mall is safe.

“And the answer is, of course, it is. It’s safe today; it’s going to be safe tomorrow.”

He added, “We’re committed to keeping Tyson’s the best retail, entertainment, shopping district in the entire Washington metropolitan area. And that’s our commitment.”

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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