The housing project near the Braddock Street Metro station became the scene of another murder on Dec. 27, when Lawrence Sims, 22, was gunned down in the 800 block of Montgomery Street.
Sims' death was the second murder to happen in the cluster of public housing units north of the Inner City and Alexandria's fifth and final murder of 2005.
Friends described Sims as a quiet young man who often kept to himself in a neighborhood that is frequently plagued by violent crime.
“Every time I saw him, he was by himself,” said Dion Washington while observing a makeshift memorial in the area where Sims was shot. “That’s the way to be out here. People don’t trust each other, and that’s why he kept to himself.”
Other friends said that what happened to Sims is a mystery.
“We still don’t understand what happened,” said Monica Smith. “It was just a stupid situation, and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
On Dec. 31, Alexandria Police issued an arrest warrant for former Arlandria resident Sebastian Carter, 22, charging him with Sims' murder.
Carter received the warrant from sheriff's deputies in his Alexandria Detention Center jail cell where he has been since his arrest on Dec. 28 when he was charged with stalking and destruction of property in an unrelated matter.
AT SIMS’ FUNERAL on Tuesday, the Rev. John Reid III of Woodbridge encouraged the young people in the audience to resist violence.
“My son was killed during a violent act on the street,” Reid said during the service at Lewis Funeral Home. “Today is his birthday. So, young men and women, hear me today: We have got to stop this cycle of death.”
Reid preached for an hour about the importance of redemption. He implored the young men and women in the audience to change their lives and work toward bringing change to the troubled neighborhood near the Braddock Street Metro station. He said that violence is ripping apart the African-American community, and he encouraged the rising generation of youth to invoke Sims’ memory by working for change.
“I was with Martin Luther King when we were praying in the church and the Ku Klux Klan came by and tried to harm us — and I’ve still got the scars on my head to prove it,” Reid said. “Today, we don’t need the Ku Klux Klan anymore because we are doing it to ourselves.”