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The Washington Post

Landscaper in D.C. fatally shot on the job


A landscaper working alongside a residential avenue in Northeast Washington was fatally shot within the again Thursday afternoon after he confronted a person he noticed making an attempt to interrupt right into a truck, based on D.C. police.

The sufferer, recognized as Bacilio Villatoro, 57, lived in Silver Spring, Md., with one in all his two grownup sons, and had a spouse and grown daughter in El Salvador, based on his brother-in-law.

Police mentioned Villatoro was shot about 12:40 p.m. within the 3000 block of Adams Avenue NE, in a neighborhood that has a mixture of industrial buildings and personal houses and is lined by New York and South Dakota avenues.

Dustin Sternbeck, a D.C. police spokesman, mentioned that Villatoro noticed a person tampering with a truck and commenced to argue with him. Sternbeck mentioned the person pulled out a gun and Villatoro turned and commenced to run.

Sternbeck mentioned Villatoro “tried to flee and was shot within the again.”

Villatoro died on the scene and police mentioned the gunman drove off in a black Chevrolet Impala. No arrests have been made as of Friday. Police mentioned it seems no property was taken. It was not instantly clear if the truck belonged to the landscaping firm or one other employee.

“He was a quiet particular person,” mentioned the brother-in-law, 53-year-old Jose Villatoro, who shares a standard final identify together with his in-law however isn’t blood-related. “If anyone aggravated him, he simply left them alone. That’s the type of particular person he was. Why did this occur to him?”

Villatoro was the District’s 151st homicide victim this 12 months, a 2 % drop from this time in 2021. His killing additionally broke a 10-day respite from lethal crime: Earlier than Thursday, there had not been a murder in D.C. since Sept. 11.

However the metropolis continues to battle with gun violence and homicides, coming off a 12 months when it surpassed 200 killings for the primary time since 2003. The violent crime, Jose Villatoro mentioned, “is out of hand.”

The Gateway neighborhood the place Villatoro was shot has had no different homicides this 12 months, and police statistics present assaults with harmful weapons have dropped in comparison with final 12 months. However these statistics additionally present robberies have almost doubled.

Jose Villatoro, who lives in Prince George’s County, mentioned his brother-in-law got here to the US within the late Eighties and had labored alongside him breaking stones at a building provide and rock quarry firm in Bethesda. He mentioned Bacilio Villatoro had not too long ago left that work for the landscaping job.

The brother-in-law mentioned others on the job web site informed him the assault gave the impression to be a theft try. He mentioned Bacilio Villatoro stored about $100 to $150 in his pockets for transportation and different wants.

Jose Villatoro mentioned his brother-in-law had despatched cash to his spouse and different kinfolk in El Salvador. He mentioned Villatoro loved being with buddies and watching sports activities, and whereas quiet and sparse with phrases, he “appreciated to be with individuals who have been speaking.”

Family in Maryland and in El Salvador are discussing burial preparations.

“He died working,” Jose Villatoro mentioned. “That’s the type of man he was.”

Teo Armus contributed to this report.

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