A man was found shot to death Sunday on a park bench in McPherson Square, just two blocks from the grounds of the White House, according to D.C. police.
Officers responded around 9:30 p.m. to a report of the sound of gunshots, police said, and found the victim at 15th and I Streets NW.
A police report of the incident indicates that the man was found with drug paraphernalia. Initially, both police and emergency medical providers believed that he had overdosed and the victim was administered Narcan. It was an investigator at the scene, from the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who discovered the man’s gunshot wound.
Asked at a news conference Monday about the city’s battle against violent crime, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser echoed criticisms she made last week, when she singled out a fractured criminal justice system and D.C. Council actions that she argues have worsened the city’s violent crime problem.
“I’ve made very clear where I think the policies have been wrong, over a number of years, and those issues relate to defunding the police to …treating our police officers with employment matters different than any other employee — and in some cases, they should be,” Bowser said. “Other cases, it makes it very difficult.”
Bowser added that other policies, including those related to fare decriminalization at Metro stations in the District “over the last three to five years” have made the District’s “policy environment not conducive to safe streets.”
McPherson Square is within the city’s Ward 2, which is home to the White House, monuments, museums and the city’s central business district. While the deadly spike in violent crime has fallen most heavily on Wards 7 and 8 — in Northeast and Southeast — gun crimes are up in every ward of the city.
D.C. crime data shows that the number of violent crimes with a gun so far this year in Ward 2 are more than double the number at this time last year.
Police crime data reports 256 violent crimes in Ward 2, including homicides, sex abuse, assault with a dangerous weapon and robbery so far this year — compared to 101 at this time last year.