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Posted at 3:28 PM ET, 04/16/2010

Principal was shot, medical examiner says

By Mike McPhate
cub
Brian Betts (Nikki Khan/Post)

Update, 3:25 p.m.: The body of Brian Betts was taken to the office of the chief medical examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy Friday. The preliminary results from the autopsy determined that the cause of death was homicide and the manner of death was gunshot.

Police said he had suffered at least one wound.

Update: 1:10 p.m.Principal Brian Betts' death is believed to be a homicide, and at this point his death does not appear to be random, county police chief J. Thomas Manger said Friday afternoon.

"At this point we don't believe he was a random victim," Manger said.

Manger said that as of 1 p.m. the autopsy was not concluded so he did not know the exact cause of death.

"We suspect it is a homicide. We are investigating it as such," Manger said.

He stressed the investigation is still "wide open" and could take new directions. "It's still possible this was a random killing, but right now we don't think so," he said.

-- Dan Morse

9:30 a.m.

A middle school principal who was wooed from Montgomery County as part of Chancellor Michelle Rhee's effort to improve the struggling D.C. system was found dead in his Silver Spring home Thursday night, police said.

Montgomery County police called the death "suspicious" and said they are searching for the victim's dark blue 2007 Nissan Xterra SUV.

Brian Betts, 42, who became principal of Shaw Middle School at Garnett Patterson in fall of 2008, did not report for work on Thursday, police said. A co-worker who went to his home in the 9300 block of Columbia Boulevard in Silver Spring found him dead inside.

Police, who were called to the scene about 7:30 p.m., did not say whether investigators have determined the cause of death. See full story here.


Earlier post:

A middle school principal who was wooed from Montgomery County as part of Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s effort to improve the struggling D.C. system was found dead in his Silver Spring home Thursday night.

Montgomery County police called the death “suspicious” and said they are searching for the victim’s blue 2007 Nissan SUV.

Brian Betts, 42, who became principal of Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson in fall of 2008, did not report for work on Thursday, police said. A co-worker went to his home, in the 9300 block of Columbia Boulevard in Silver Spring, and found him dead inside. Police did not say whether investigators have determined the cause of death.

Betts has been touted by Rhee as one of several innovative and energetic school leaders who have the opportunity to remake failing schools.

Last spring, Rhee agree to let 90 eighth-graders at Betts’s school remain there for ninth grade, instead of graduating and entering high school. The students had asked to be allowed to spend ninth grade at the middle school — an unusual request that Rhee said demonstrated their enthusiasm for the changes Betts had wrought.

"Imagine," Rhee said in an interview with The Washington Post editorial board, "13-year-olds so excited about going to school that they are telling me they love waking up in the morning."

Anyone with information pertaining to the death is asked to call homicide detectives at 240-773-5070.

Post education columnist Jay Mathews wrote about Betts in February 2009. Read the column 'Test Scores Provide Valuable Measure Of Success in D.C.'

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Locator map

Block where Betts lived

-- by Debbi Wilgoren

By Mike McPhate  | April 16, 2010; 3:28 PM ET
 
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Comments

Very sad to hear of this...had him as a teacher about a decade ago. I don't remember a whole lot about him but I do remember that students liked him a lot and that he had a very charismatic personality. He shall be missed.

Posted by: forget@menot.com | April 16, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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