‘Put the guns down!’ DC council member pleads to community

Calling for a “cease-fire,” D.C. council member for Ward 4, Janeese Lewis George, issued a passionate plea to the community Friday, begging people to put an end to the gun violence that has flared up across the District.

“Put the guns down!” George yelled with tears in her eyes. “We’re asking for the guns to go down!”

George, surrounded by community and local religious leaders, said the rise in violence has been “incredibly disappointing.”

Specifically, she referred to the fact that three young children had been shot in the past two weeks.

“Killing and shooting in our neighborhoods is unacceptable especially when our babies are getting shot,” George said.

Last week, an 8-year-old was hit by stray gunfire in a shooting that left one man dead. Then, earlier this week, a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old were hit by stray gunfire after they got off a Metrobus.

Both incidents happened in the same area around the Brightwood neighborhood in Northwest.

George said that type of violence is predominantly sparked by conflicts among local crews and gangs.

“There’s only two things that happen here — you end up in jail, or you end up in the ground,” George said. “When you shoot a gun in a public place anywhere, you have taken away the sacredness of life and humanity.”

About 50 residents attended Thursday night’s monthly meeting between D.C. police officials and the Brightwood Community Association. Some called for curfews, cameras and gated communities.

Kim Patterson, the group’s vice president and an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, said that earlier in the week the community held a meeting to discuss gun violence.

“The room was packed at the meeting and all the officials were there,” Patterson said. “We talked for almost two-and-a-half hours. And the very next day, at 4 in the afternoon, another shooting just blocks away.”

Most people in the neighborhood have cameras and security systems on their homes, Patterson said, “but other than that, I don’t really know much that an individual citizen can do.”

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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