Friends, family speak out after former DC BOE member shot during carjacking spree

The friend of a man who was critically injured during a string of shootings and carjackings that spanned from D.C. to Prince George’s County, Maryland, says he can’t make sense of the attack.

While D.C. police have not publicly identified Mike Gill as one of the victims of the violent rampage, family spokeswoman Erica Richardson said in a statement that Gill was the victim of the shooting at 9th and K streets Northwest on Monday night. The statement she sent to WTOP reads, in part:

“Mike is an amazing husband, father, friend and colleague. He has a wonderful sense of humor, no matter the situation. He makes friends with everyone — and is always looking for opportunities to bring people together and make them feel included and loved. His warmth and kindness have touched the lives of many, evident in the outpouring of love and support his family have received during this difficult time. Mike’s remarkable ability to connect with others transcends boundaries. His genuine interest in people and his innate ability to make everyone feel valued and included have been instrumental in fostering a sense of community wherever he goes. … The most important thing about Mike that all of his friends know is how much he loves his family and how proud he is of his three children. You can’t know Mike without hearing proud stories of each one of his kids, and hearing about his love and respect for his wife.”

A D.C. police spokesman told WTOP that Gill is in “very critical condition” as of Tuesday night.

The shooting was the first in a violent rampage that left another person dead, police said. Two New Carrollton police officers fatally shot the suspect, who hasn’t been identified, early Tuesday, authorities said.

Officers responded to the Mt. Vernon neighborhood for the report of a shooting around 5:45 p.m. Monday, police said. Gill was in a parked vehicle when the suspect got in and shot him.

The suspect then exited the vehicle and left, police said. Gill got out of the vehicle and collapsed on the sidewalk.

Michael Bennett, a former chairman of D.C.’s Board of Elections, said he served on the board with Gill for six years. He considers Gill a good friend and recalled working with him and their colleagues to plan for the 2020 election in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

“Something like this can happen anywhere, at any time, to anybody,” Bennett told WTOP. “It makes you feel really vulnerable and frightened about almost being anywhere, the senselessness of this.”

Gill also worked as a chief of staff in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Donald Trump administration.

“He is … a real asset to the city in a lot of ways and not just on the Board of Elections,” Bennett said. “Just a great citizen, a great guy.”

Around 7 p.m. Monday, police said, the suspect tried to steal a vehicle in the 1000 block of 3rd Street Northwest. But he eventually ran from the scene without stealing the vehicle.

About 15 minutes later, police said, the same suspect approached a man and woman by their car in the NoMa neighborhood and demanded their keys. The suspect shot the man and left in the victims’ vehicle, police said.

The victim has been identified as 35-year-old Alberto Vasquez Jr., police said.

“They gave up the keys and, for whatever reason, the guy still shot him and ended up killing my son,” Vazquez Jr.’s mother, Antoinette Walker, told NBC Washington.

D.C. police said the suspect then committed two more carjackings in Prince George’s County. Around 3 a.m. Tuesday, driving a carjacked vehicle on Interstate 295, police said the suspect began shooting at a D.C. police car, hitting the driver’s side door.

DC Police share photo of cruiser door damaged with a bullet hole from Monday night’s crime spree. (Courtesy D.C. police)

Police also believe the same suspect shot at least once after being spotted by a Maryland State Police trooper helping stranded motorists on I-95 near Maryland Route 198 and Laurel around 3:30 a.m. The trooper’s windshield was struck, Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Roland Butler said.

Early Tuesday morning, the two New Carrollton officers noticed an occupied vehicle on Annapolis Road near the intersection with Veterans Parkway in Lanham. Officers identified the SUV as stolen and approached the man nearby.

Attorney General spokesman Thomas Lester said at a news conference Tuesday that the suspect went toward the officers and “produced two hand guns.” That’s when the officers shot the suspect.

WTOP’s Jessica Kronzer and Luke Lukert contributed to this report.

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Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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