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Bennie L. LAWSON Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge - Gangs
Number of victims: 3 +
Date of murders: November 22, 1994
Date of birth: 1969
Victims profile: D.C. Police Sergeant Henry Joseph Daly, 51, and FBI Special Agents Martha A. Martinez, 35, and Michael John Miller, 36
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day ?

On November 22, 1994, a street thug named Bennie Lawson was concerned about his reputation among fellow gang members. He had been questioned by police about his role in a triple murder and the word on the street was that Lawson was cooperating. He had been labeled a "snitch," and to Lawson that was a fate worse than death. So, in an effort to clear his name, he walked into the "Cold Case Squad" office at D.C. Police Headquarters and opened fire without saying a word.

During the next terror-filled moments, more than 40 shots were exchanged between Lawson and the four officers in the room. Three of them were FBI agents. When it was over, four people were dead. They included D.C. Police Sergeant Hank Daly, and FBI Special Agents Martha Martinez and Mike Miller. Lawson had killed them all. After finishing what he had set out to do that day, Lawson then took Agent Martinez's gun, put it to his head and pulled the trigger.


4 at Police Center In Washington Die As Gunfire Erupts

By Michael Janofsky - The New York Times

November 23, 1994

Four people, including a District of Columbia police sergeant and two F.B.I. agents, were killed today in a wild eruption of gunfire inside the Police Headquarters building, the authorities said. Two other people were reported to have been wounded.

The police said the incident began around 3:30 P.M. and lasted about an hour. But by tonight many details of what had happened remained unknown.

Federal authorities said that one of the four dead was a gunman armed with a semiautomatic weapon. He was one of three men who had entered a third-floor room in which the police officer and the Federal agents were working, officials said.

Speaking tonight at a news conference at the offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the authorities did not provide a precise chronology; rather, they suggested that the victims were killed before an hour-long standoff with members of a SWAT team who had tried to negotiate with someone inside the room.

The authorities said that the SWAT members did not fire any weapons and that all the law-enforcement officers in the room were armed, suggesting that the gunman was killed by the law-enforcement agents in the room.

The officials said that one of the two men who had accompanied the gunman into the room was wounded and that the other was unharmed and was being questioned.

While officials did not identify the gunman or his companions, The Washington Post identified the gunman as Benny Lee Lawson, who, the newspaper said, had been interviewed by homicide investigators last week in connection with a triple slaying.

Asked what might have motivated the shootings, Anthony Daniels, the assistant director of the F.B.I. Washington field office, said, "I have no idea."

Chief of Police Fred Thomas said the gunfire had occurred in the office used by the department's homicide "cold case" squad, which investigates crimes in which leads have withered. F.B.I. agents are assigned to work with the squad.

The police station, which also houses the District's Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Finance and Revenue, is at Indiana Avenue and Third Street N.W., about a half-mile east of the White House and several blocks from the Capitol.

Chief Thomas said that officers inside the headquarters had managed to pull two victims -- the police sergeant who was killed and a wounded F.B.I. agent -- out of the room in which the gunfire occurred. Another man, whom the police identified only as a civilian, managed to crawl from the room with a bullet wound in his leg, officials said.

When officers finally broke into the room a police statement said, they found the one man who was unharmed, the two dead F.B.I. agents and another dead man, believed to have been the gunman.

Within minutes of the initial gunfire, police officers sealed off the area around the building, and the special weapons and tactics unit and a hostage negotiator were called in, Chief Thomas said.

Shortly after 4 P.M., the negotiator made contact with someone inside the office, officials said, and about a half-hour after that the SWAT team broke into the room.

Several local television stations reported that the incident involved a former police officer who had been dismissed, but neither Chief Thomas nor Mr. Daniels of the F.B.I. would confirm that.

The police sergeant who was killed was identified as Henry Joseph Daly, 51, a 28-year veteran of the District police force who had worked on homicide cases for 22 years. "He was a very methodical, calculating, committed police officer," said an officer who knew him. "How many cops after 20 years are still working homicide?"

Sergeant Daly was assigned to the cold case squad. "He had tremendous success in closing cases," said the officer who knew Sergeant Daly. "That unit has some of the better homicide detectives in the country."

The F.B.I. agents who were killed were identified as Martha Dixon Martinez, 35, and Michael John Miller, 36. A third F.B.I agent, John David Kuchta, was said to be in serious but stable condition at Washington Medical Center.

Chris Sanders, a five-year-veteran of the police force, criticized security precautions at the building. "Anybody can walk in here and take over the building. No problem," Officer Sanders said. "This is just ridiculous. The normal security around here is a guy sitting at the front door and someone at Motor Vehicles. They keep cutting the budget."

Budget cuts have become a major concern for the city in recent months, with Congress demanding spending cuts of $140 million for the 1995 fiscal year.

At a news conference that began several blocks away at about the time of the shootings, Mayor-elect Marion S. Barry Jr. outlined a plan to grapple with the city's dire financial situation.

In a proposal from a committee appointed by Mr. Barry to recommend cuts throughout the city budget, the authors suggested reducing the police force by 152 positions for a savings of $10.8 million.


Suspect in Washington Shootings Had Past Weapons Convictions


Sgt. Henry Joseph Daly, 51

F.B.I. agent Martha A. Martinez, 35

F.B.I. agent Michael John Miller, 36



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