Smith said 16-year-old Maurice Jackson of Northeast D.C. was shot around 3:45 p.m. while in the 1400 block of New Jersey Avenue, just moments after leaving Dunbar High School. Detectives believe Jackson was near the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and P Street Northwest, while speaking with another group.
While police were still on the scene investigating the teen’s shooting, Smith said, another man was “shot in the crossfire of two vehicles shooting at each other” just after 4:45 p.m. in the 1300 block of Savannah Street Southeast. That man, 21-year-old Kamal Jones of Southeast, D.C., died at the scene.
“In just the past two hours, we have had two members of our community killed by senseless acts of gun violence,” Smith said. “We have too many guns on our streets and as a community, we need to do everything we can to stop this violence from plaguing our city.”
The acting chief said the two shootings, which highlight a grim milestone for the community, come just a day before Smith is set to appear in a hearing regarding her appointment as permanent chief of police.
While in preparation for that hearing, Smith said, the department also discovered that eight more deaths have been ruled homicides and not yet added to the District’s published homicide count. But the acting chief said she and the police department are not just focused on the number of homicide investigations underway.
“To me, numbers are just numbers — when we lose one person, whether it’s one or 200, that’s too many. That’s too many folks dying in the District of Columbia,” Smith told reporters during a news conference Tuesday.
Smith also said the department is “always working with (D.C. Public Schools)” to determine what needs to be done but did not directly respond to questions about calls to bring in the National Guard to fight crime in the region.
“I believe we need to get the guns off the street,” Smith said in response to a question on bringing in the National Guard.
Officials have not named either shooting victim, and information about the suspects in these shootings has not yet been shared by D.C. police.
D.C. police Union Chairman Gregg Pemberton, speaking on behalf of the police union, pointed to just how quickly the area reached 200 homicides this year. Last year, the District didn’t see the number until Dec. 29.
“Since the passage of so-called ’emergency police reform’ legislation in June of 2020, over 1,300 police officers have separated from MPD,” the union wrote. “Most of the members who have left cited the Council’s treatment of law enforcement and political rhetoric which not only makes policing more difficult and therefore less effective, but also endangers police officers and their families.
Pemberton has made similar remarks over the past years, saying local lawmakers behind the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act were to blame for the spike in homicides.
“This increase in crime is due to the DC Council’s implementation of misguided ‘police reform’ legislation,” Pemberton wrote.
The District’s marked its 100th homicide in early June — a milestone Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke out against as she worked on “closing gaps in the law, looking at what we can do better administratively and making sure we have programs and services that are engaging our young people.”
WTOP’s Emily Venezky contributed to this report.