Omar Sykes dies: Howard University student shot and killed near campus

Omar Sykes, 22, was shot and killed near Howard University Thursday night. Photo: MPD

(AP/ABC7) - D.C. police say a Howard University student was fatally shot and a second student was beaten in a robbery attempt.

The two students were walking on Fairmont Street near the campus in northwest Washington late Thursday night when they were approached by two men. Police say one of the men pulled out a gun and shot one of the students.

The victim is identified as{ }Omar Sykes, 22, of Northwest D.C. He was a junior marketing major. Sykes was a member of Alphi Phi Omega fraternity. He often shopped for fraternity gear at a store on the corner.

"This shouldn't have happened to him. It should not have happened,” said one of Sykes’ friends.

Neighbors say lots of people were outside celebrating the 4th of July when all of a sudden, shots rang out.

Neighbors in northwest who live next door to his mother's home were shocked.

"He was just a wonderful young man he was just an ideal man," says one neighbor.

One of his brothers told ABC7 that the hospital was packed Thursday night as they all waited for word. No one was prepared for this.

Officers called to the scene found the student suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. Police say he was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police say the second student was beaten. He was taken to the hospital with injuries that are not thought to be life threatening.

Police are looking for two men who were involved in the shooting. The Howard University Department of Public Safety is assisting MPD with the investigation.

Howard University is telling students to be cautious as the search continues for the suspect, and a $25,000 reward has been offered by the MPD for information leading to the arrest of suspects in the shooting.

On Monday night, the Metropolitan Police addressed a packed meeting full of concerned residents. They were providing updates on the search for suspects in the homicide of Omar Sykes.

Patrick Nelson lives only a few doors down from the scene of the fatal shooting. He says that while the community is rattled, they are coming together.

Police stressed that they are aggressively tracking down leads, increasing patrols, and reminding residents and students to be vigilant.

“You just have to shake your head at the senselessness of it,” says Howard student Jason Booker.

Booker also says that the meeting was a great start to finding common ground and coming together to reduce incidents like this in the future.

Residents told ABC 7 that off-campus college parties have been a magnet for chaos, and Nelson says that outsiders who attend these parties could be responsible for the uptick in crime in the area.


We are deeply saddened by the passing of one our students in an off-campus incident. A second student was injured and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries. To respect the privacy of the families and to preserve the integrity of this ongoing police investigation, we are unable to share additional information at this time. Howard University Police Department is cooperating with the Metropolitan Police Department to thoroughly investigate this regrettable incident. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to members of the immediate and the campus family. Counseling and support services are available on a 24-hour basis for students who need assistance during this difficult time.

Kerry-Ann Hamilton
University Spokesperson