Since Thursday seven people have died in shootings in D.C., among them an 11-year-old boy, and all the cases have one thing in common according to police: They involved illegal guns.
The shootings have D.C.’s police chief not only calling for help in solving the cases but also calling for stricter penalties for those arrested for having guns when they shouldn’t.
“No one deserves to die from gun violence,” said D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham.
Newsham said the fact that illegal guns were used in all seven killings is not surprising since 20% of all murder suspects are felons who should not have guns.
Newsham believes that collectively, the criminal justice system needs to do better in holding people who are in possession of an illegal gun accountable the first time.
“There should be consequences that make that person decide that they’re not going to pick up a gun again, and we don’t have that right now,” Newsham said.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the community and the city government should do more to address the issue of violence.
“Nobody wants to live in a neighborhood where they’re scared of hearing gunfire,” Bowser said.
The mayor and chief said the city is now offering a $2,500 reward for tips leading to the recovery of an illegal firearm from the streets of D.C. Bowser said the city is looking at how it is reaching out to families who may have a loved one on the verge of violence and may be hesitant to call police.
“It’s better to be arrested for having a gun than for murdering a child. Call us,” she said.
The seven cases from this weekend include the death of 11-year-old Karon Brown, who was killed at a gas station on Naylor Road on Thursday. Police arrested 29-year-old Tony McClam on charges of murder.
The other six cases remain unsolved.
On Friday at around 6 p.m., police responded to the 1100 block of Queen Street Northeast where they found 57-year-old Hugh Washington and his 17-year-old son Ahkil Washington-Scruggs, shot to death. Police do not believe the case is domestic in nature, and they are searching for those responsible.
Shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday, police found 34-year-old Eric Byrd of Southeast D.C. shot multiple times. He died later at the hospital.
Around 4 a.m. Saturday, police responded to the 3000 block of 30th Street Southeast and found 23-year-old Delwaun Lyons shot multiple times. He died at the hospital.
Then Saturday night, Newsham said a person was shot on the 3600 block of Sherman Avenue Northwest. The person was taken to the hospital and died Sunday night. Police are not identifying the victim until next of kin can be notified.
On Sunday, shortly before 8 p.m., police responded to the sound of gunshots and found 27-year-old Jamal Bandy suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in an alley on the 1300 block of Congress Street Southeast. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Anyone with information, which leads to an arrest and conviction, in any of the cases, should call police at 202-727-9099. Tips can also be texted to 50411. Anyone with information can remain anonymous.