DC police chief IDs woman killed in Days Inn shooting

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee on Friday identified the woman who was shot and killed at a hotel Thursday.

Dasha Cleary, 20, of Waldorf, Maryland, was one of five people shot at about 4 a.m. Thursday at the Days Inn on Connecticut Avenue in the Van Ness section of the District.

“This is a very, very tragic incident,” Contee said.

“Certainly, she deserved better,” the chief added, saying the D.C. police will continue to work the case “until we are able to bring this case to closure.”

Contee reiterated that the people gathered in the hotel room “for the most part knew each other,” and that they’re cooperating with the investigation.

“We’re just being meticulous,” Contee said.

Other shootings

Contee also detailed several other shooting incidents in the District on Thursday:

A man was shot during an argument on Irving Street, in Columbia Heights, just before 4 p.m., Contee said. Shortly thereafter, Christopher Frink, 18, of Northwest, was arrested and charged with assault with intent to kill and carrying a pistol without a license. “This case is now closed,” Contee said.

The police have been “working very hard in that area,” the chief said, adding that officers had walked through the neighborhood with residents a couple of hours earlier.

A woman was shot on North Capitol Street, in Northwest, also at about 4 p.m. Thursday, Contee said.

Two people came to a house in the 2100 block in a white Mercedes, parked in a rear alley, walked to the front of the house and began shooting, Contee said. The woman was wounded just outside the front door; two people left the house, one with a gun, evidently bent on retaliation, the chief said.

The police searched the house under “an emergency search warrant,” Contee said, and found three illegal firearms. Michael Cheadle, 18, two 14-year-olds and a 15-year-old were all arrested on weapons charges.

Contee also mentioned an accidental shooting that took the life of a teenager in the District.

Kyle Richards, 17, of Federalsburg, Maryland, was shot just after 5 p.m. Thursday in the 4400 block of E Street in Southeast, just east of Alabama Avenue. He died of his injuries.

Shattiah Johnson, 26, whom Contee described as a friend of Richards’ brother, has been charged in the teen’s death. The shooting was “not intentional,” Contee said, “but young Kyle Richards lost his life unnecessarily.”

He called the shooting “a very unfortunate incident,” and added, “we see tragedy when people are negligent in their handling of firearms.”

‘These are our kids’

Contee said the rise in violent crime in the District is everyone’s business.

“These are our kids. It’s going to be the police — that’s going to be the tool.” In others, he said, the answer will come from employment opportunities provided by the business community for D.C.’s young people. “It has to be a collective entity. I don’t think there’s one government entity that’s going to be the answer.”

Asked whether the D.C. Council is doing enough to provide those opportunities, Contee said, “That’s a great question for the council.”

He said the police department routinely asks itself whether it’s doing enough, and that “I think that question should be across the board for everyone.”

“We’re locking people up when we’re supposed to be locking them up for committing crimes in our city,” Contee said. “And everything else that happens after that — it has to be a collective effort.”

Asked what people should tell families to stay safe, Contee said, “First and foremost is what I tell my family: We live in a big city. You have to be smart as you’re going about your way – whatever it is you’re doing.”

“We’re constantly bombarded with information” – including from the police themselves – “about this crime happening her, this crime happening there,” Contee said, but he added that there are things people can do.

For example, the majority of cars stolen in the District have the keys inside, Contee said. “Those are things that we can prevent.”

And while carjackings are up, Contee said, “The places where they’re happening is different from where it was a year ago. … It’s alarming to people. But it’s alarming to me wherever it happens in the city, whenever it happens in the city.”

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Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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