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Inside Paul Duggan's Southeast shootings stories

You can find the two installments of Post reporter Paul Duggan's investigation into the events leading up to -- and including -- the March 30 shootings in Southeast Washington that claimed three lives on this Web site.

For insight into Duggan's reporting, read Brigid Schulte's interview with Paul on the Story Lab blog, then sign into ask Paul a question in an online chat today at noon Eastern time.

An excerpt from the interview:

Brigid: Did you know all along that the story would be about the nine days before the drive-by?
Paul: There’s a whole thing that happens after they’re arrested – a wild chase, a 14-year-old kid locked up, falsely charged. There’s just so much to this particular story. But it’s only after you do all the reporting, then it occurs to you what the story’s about. I didn’t go into it, thinking -- this is all the mayhem leading up to the drive-by. But once I got it all, I realized I had this incredible account of those nine days from when the bracelet went missing leading right up to the drive-by.
At the end of the first part, Orlando is shot. That’s when the whole sequence of events started to unfold, all the weird intrigue and bizarre stupidity. Like – they were going to blow up one of the funerals but couldn’t get the rental van in time because their debit card was rejected. The cops were chasing them around, one day late everywhere they went. They were honest with me about that – the cops and the prosecutors – they had an opportunity to stop this. They could have short-circuited it.
They know if Orlando gets shot what’s going to happen next – he’s going to strike back. They didn’t know he was going to strike back in such a spectacular fashion. Their mission was, arrest this guy before this thing escalates. But they can’t make an arrest until they have evidence. There was a huge disagreement between the cops and the U.S. attorney’s office about that. The cops wanted to spin an affidavit and just get the guy off the streets. And the U.S. attorney said they couldn’t do that legally. They did get a search warrant to search for guns, but they can’t search at night in D.C., and in the intervening hours, the bad guys spirit the guns away, so when the cops finally do show up, there’s nothing there.
That’s why I love this story – it’s a window into this world. What the cops are up against, the rules the system has for them, what they can and can’t do. And the guys who obviously have no rules. It’s a little cat and mouse game. And it’s nothing special. It happens every day in the city, week after week.

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 3, 2010; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Paul Duggan , The District  
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