A street gathering in Washington, D.C. turned deadly early Sunday morning when gunfire broke out, killing one person and wounding at least 20, as the Washington Examiner reported.
Police responded after shots were fired in a residential area of Southeast D.C. At least 11 of the victims were female and nine were transported to the hopsital for their injuries, and an off-duty police officer was also hospitalized in critical condition after being shot.
A 17-year-old who lived nearby, Christopher Brown, was killed in the gunfire, according to his cousin Octavia Brown. He leaves behind a one-year-old child.
“They just took my cousin away,” Octavia Brown said. “This stuff has to stop.”
Dispute turns violent
According to the Examiner, D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said witnesses reported that least three shooters fired from different locations at the same time during the incident. Police believe the underlyig motive may have stemmed from a dispute between attendees at the gathering.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the gathering, a neighborhood cookout and block party complete with its own disc jockey, drew hundreds of people and was illegal in a number of different ways.
“It is illegal to drink on the street in the District of Columbia; it is illegal to smoke marijuana on the street in the District of Columbia. It is illegal to be in a gathering of more than 50 – all of those things are not good,” she said, according to Fox News. “And, sadly, when you put illegal guns in the hands of people willing to use them, it means some person could lose her life or some people could lose their lives.”
“Sadly, several people who have no regard for human life open fire at what had been … people together enjoying themselves,” Bowser lamented.
No arrests made
Despite the presence of many witnesses to the shootings and other attendant lawlessness, no arrests have yet been made in the matter.
“As a community, it’s really important that we have zero tolerance for this type of activity; that we support the Metropolitan Police Department…and that may mean that people will have to go to jail,” Bowser threatened, according to Fox News.
Sunday’s shootings represent just the latest tragedy to unfold in what has been an especially violent summer in the nation’s capital, with murders in the District having risen more than 20% over the prior year as of mid-July, according to the Washington Post.
Whether these horrific developments will finally start to quiet some of the voices demanding the defunding of America’s police departments, only time will tell.