After shooting near Nats Park, Bowser details efforts to combat gun violence

Following a shooting near Nationals Park on Saturday that left three people wounded, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser outlined efforts to combat gun violence in the District.

Bowser told WTOP on Monday the city is focused on the “full spectrum of services, from prevention efforts, like we have with our Building Blocks program and our violence prevention efforts, but also on enforcement.”

“So it’s important to note, as I committed to the (Nationals), as I committed to the Congress Heights community when I was there this weekend, we have to have the presence of our police and our police have to be backed up by the rest of the criminal justice system.”

The shooting outside Nats Park was just a day after 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney was shot and killed. The car connected to that shooting has been found burned.

Witnesses in the case are still being interviewed, the mayor told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

Bowser said she told one of the D.C. Council’s members “that I’m putting them on alert that we’re going to use the overtime hours that we need to make sure we have the police presence.”

“But that’s only one piece. We also need the rest of the criminal justice system to be working overtime too,” she said.

Bowser wants “our whole system open.”

She said the COVID-19 pandemic forced the shutdown of “a good part of our criminal justice system” — from the United States Attorney’s offices to the D.C. court system where there’s a backlog of felony trials, not just for youth, but for adults as well.

Bowser said that includes supervision of people who may have been arrested and are out on pretrial release or people who have been returned home, who also need supervision.

Bowser also told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “We need help from the White House and we’ve got some in the form of an ATF task force that we’re participating in that is meant to stop the trafficking of guns into communities like ours.”

In Saturday’s shooting, shots were exchanged between two vehicles in the 1500 block of South Capitol Street SW around 9:30 p.m., D.C. police said.

Two occupants of one of the vehicles later appeared at a hospital seeking treatment for gunshot wounds; they are being questioned and are known to law enforcement, Metropolitan Police Department Executive Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict said.

A bullet grazed a fan who was crossing the street nearby as well. All three suffered non-life threatening injuries and are expected to recover.

D.C. police published surveillance stills of the Corolla on Sunday morning. Officials believe it to have a Virginia temporary tag and a missing hubcap on the rear driver’s side wheel. Anyone with knowledge of the car shown below is asked to contact detectives by calling 202-727-9099 or texting 50411.

Also on Sunday, Chairman of the ANC for District 6D Edward Daniels said the situation was “embarrassing to the city.”

“This is on us as a community, as well, to figure out why this is happening and why these people are on the streets.”

He said something needs to change and that this recent shooting just added more concern for him.

“It’s really ridiculous, because we’ve had a number of shootings in our neighborhood, between Southeast and Southwest, between Navy Yard and the Wharf in the Southwest community. We need a solution. This is not what we need.”

WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez, Matthew Delaney and Valerie Bonk contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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