D.C. homicides hit 5-year high

WASHINGTON — Just a week into September, this has already become the District’s deadliest year since 2010.

And the end of Labor Day weekend was especially violent in the 7th District, east of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, recording a 95 percent increase in killings this year.

In the span of an hour Monday evening, Jarrell Hall was killed and six others were injured in shootings across the 7th District. And Hall, 28 of Southwest, became the 109th person violently killed in the city this year, police say.

Police found Hall and a second man inside a home on Forrester Street SW about 10:30 p.m. both suffering from gunshot wounds. The other man was taken to the hospital.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Police Chief Cathy Lanier again pointed to illegal guns in the hands of repeat criminals as the culprit for the spike in violence.

“The people that are committing the crimes — the homicides in particular — that are repeat violent gun offenders, has almost doubled,” she says.

Of the cases police have closed, 52 percent of the suspected killers had prior gun-related arrests in D.C.

So far this year, police have recovered more than 1,100 illegal guns.

Last month, city leaders announced the reward for reporting illegal guns would more than double to $2,500.

Lanier is pleading for help to get even more weapons off the streets.

“While we keep increasing our efforts and keep increasing the number of guns recovered, the number of arrests that we’re making and the number of homicides that we’re closing, we need everyone else to step up to the plate with us,” she says.

Although police have deployed extra officers and recovered more illegal guns, the increase in summer violence has not ebbed.

“If there are gaps in the sentencing guidelines that are allowing repeat violent gun offenders to get through the system and come back and reoffend, then we gotta fix that,” she says.

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