Shooting Near Burke Forces Sidwell Into Lockdown

On April 22, a shooter opened fire near Connecticut Avenue in northwest Washington, leaving four people injured. After firing over 200 shots from the apartment, Spencer committed suicide. The shooting occurred within close proximity to Edmund Burke School, an independent college preparatory school that, like Sidwell, entered lockdown after gunshots rang out.

Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said in a briefing that Raymond Spencer, the shooter, opened fire from an apartment window in an attempt to “kill and hurt members of our community.”

Freshman Fiona Peters was engaged in lacrosse practice when she was suddenly prompted to hurry inside by upperclassmen. Unaware of what was going on, the possibility of a nearby shooting was far from her mind. When Peters arrived inside, she was informed of the shooting.

“A lot of people used their phones to get updates from the news,” she said.

Throughout the lockdown, Head of School Bryan Garman and Upper School Principal Mamadou Guèye circled around different locations to ensure that students were doing well and to provide them with updates.

Peters also noted that people remained composed during the lockdown.

“People weren’t actually that worried. I think it was mainly getting inside where people were a little anxious,” she explained. “After they went inside, it wasn’t a big deal. We went in there and we were just playing games and talking in order to pass time.”

Freshman Zachary Foxx was also rushed inside during lacrosse practice. He was taken to the locker rooms in the Athletic Center and remained there throughout the lockdown. He recalls people texting their parents right away.

I was just thinking about whether or not everything was going to be okay.

— Zachary Foxx '25

“I was just thinking about whether or not everything was going to be okay, because I didn’t really have a lot of information about what was going on,” Foxx said.

During the lockdown, Sidwell Friends’ email alert system sent all-school email updates around every 20 minutes, which, along with information from adults, served as the main source of information for many students.

Students were instructed to leave their things and get inside as quickly as possible. Baseball players were seen running from the baseball field to Zartman House.

“I could hear helicopters in the distance, and some people were distressed or crying when we were running out,” an anonymous source recalled.

“Once we were inside, we still didn’t know what was going on. People speculated that we were in lockdown, and some people were afraid but others were not taking it seriously,” they continued.

After two hours, Sidwell’s lockdown was lifted, and students went home.