As the number of victims climbed during a week of murders that left eight people dead in the District, the city’s police chief expressed frustration that more isn’t being done to deal with repeat gun offenders.
“Whenever you go to that many homicide scenes in a couple of days, it affects you personally and emotionally,” Police Chief Peter Newsham said on Friday, even before a deadly Saturday night that included shootings in five locations across the city.
“We need collectively to look at what we’re doing with gun offenders in our city,” Newsham said.
About 70% of the people arrested with guns in D.C. have had prior arrests for firearm-related offenses. In 2018, nearly half the people arrested for homicide had prior gun arrests.
“It’s very disturbing to me to see people who we know are potentially going to be involved in violent behavior and we’re not appropriately dealing with them when we get them the first time,” Newsham said.
He wants more to be done to make sure gun offenders are being held accountable.
“Hopefully, people will get engaged and they will kind of look at the sentencing that some of our career criminals are getting and maybe give it a different consideration,” Newsham said.
This week’s rash of violence killed two 15-year-olds (one was shot near Nats Park and another was stabbed on a Metro train), a special-needs man and his caregiver and a D.C. housing authority employee on his lunch break. Among other shootings:
- Tuesday, Oct. 8, 7:56 p.m. — Fatal shooting 5200 block of Sheriff Road, NE
- Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, 1:15 p.m. — 15-year-old fatally shot in the 1300 block of Half Street, in Southwest
- Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, 9:47 p.m. — Two shot to death, 600 block of Rosedale Street, Northeast
- Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, 12:42 p.m. — Fatal shooting, 1200 block of I Street, in Southeast
- Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, 12:37 p.m. — 15-year-old stabbed to death at the Capitol South Metro station
- Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, 3:26 p.m. — Fatal shooting, 1900 block of 16th Street, in Southeast
- Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, 7 p.m. — Fatal shooting, 2200 block of Savannah Terrace, in Southeast
Within a broader effort to examine ways to help reduce gun violence, the D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety currently is considering legislation that would establish a criminal charge for possession of a gun with no serial number or an altered serial number.