Police plead for public’s help after 3 dead in 3 separate SE DC shootings


D.C. police say there is no evidence connecting two shootings in Southeast on Wednesday that both involved a volley of bullets fired by assault-style rifles, but they are waiting on forensic analysis to confirm.

D.C. police say there is no evidence connecting two shootings in Southeast on Wednesday that both involved a volley of bullets fired by assault-style rifles, but they are waiting on forensic analysis to confirm.

Overall, three people were killed and two others wounded — including a pregnant woman — in three separate shootings in Southeast D.C. Wednesday.

Two of the shootings involved assault-style rifles in which more than 90 rounds were fired at each scene. In one of the shootings, police said the suspects were in stolen cars that were later found set on fire.

“At this time … we have nothing to show us any of the shootings are connected,” said John Haines, commander of the Criminal Investigation Division, during a news conference Thursday. “We are looking into all of them … We’ll be able to determine pretty quickly, forensically, whether or not they are.”

It’s still early in the investigation, and Haines stressed police don’t have a motive in any of the shootings, but he said the areas where they took place have been plagued by conflicts between rival neighborhood gangs or crews that often result in violence.

“Rival groups, crews, neighborhoods will sometimes just target other neighborhoods and they indiscriminately shoot into an area that they’re having a feud with,” Haines said.

He urged anyone with information about any of the shootings to come forward.

“It could be your child, your mother, your brother, your grandmother sitting in your home watching TV and (have) a stray round come through the window and end their life,” Haines said. “That’s why we are pleading to the public. Please, please, please — if you know anybody who might know something … please let us know.”

3 shootings

The first shooting happened Wednesday afternoon on Birney Place in Southeast D.C.

Two vehicles were approaching the parking lot of an apartment building when people from within both vehicles began firing into the parking lot, Haines said.

“We’re not sure who they were targeting or if they were targeting anyone specifically,” Haines said.

But a woman, who was parking her car in the lot, was caught in the hail of bullets and suffered several gunshot wounds.

She was taken to the hospital, but is expected to survive, Haines said.

Investigators do not believe she was the target of the shooting. Earlier, police identified her as a manager of a nearby property and said she is pregnant.

Haines said more than 90 cartridge casings were recovered from the scene. One of the weapons appeared to be an AK-style assault rifle and the other one appeared to be an M4-style rifle, he said.

The shooting was captured on surveillance video of a nearby business, Haines said.

Police later found both vehicles involved in the shooting about a mile-and-a-half away, behind Bruce Place SE, where they both had been set on fire. Haines said both vehicles were stolen.

The second shooting occurred several hours later in the 4300 block of 4th Street SE.

A group had gathered in a parking lot to hang out, when a vehicle pulled into the lot and began firing on them around 10:30 p.m.

Again, Haines said it does not appear the shooters were targeting any specific person, but rather firing indiscriminately on the group.

Two men were killed. Police have not released their names yet. A woman was critically injured but is expected to survive, Haines said.

Over 90 cartridge casings were recovered from the scene, and the casings indicated assault-style rifles were used in the shooting, he added.

A short time later, in the 4400 block of Livingston Road, police discovered a man in a stairwell who had been fatally shot. Haines said police have not yet been able to identify the man, but that it appears the shooting was targeted. Casings at the scene indicated a pistol was used.

D.C. police offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in homicide cases, and Haines urged anyone with information to call police at 202-727-9099 or text 50411.

The parking lot shooting on 4th Street is in the Washington Highlands neighborhood, which Haines said has a history of feuding crews: “I cannot say for sure that that’s the motivation for this shooting, but that is something we are looking into.”

D.C. is struggling with a rise in homicides this year. Killings in the District are up 11% compared to last year, when they hit a 20-year high. There have been 124 homicides so far, this year.

Overall, violent crime is up 5% compared to last year, according to D.C. police data, but Haines said assaults with a deadly weapon are actually down.

Shootings involving large numbers of rounds fired are not all that rare, Haines said.

“It’s not highly unusual, unfortunately,” Haines said. “I wish it was.”


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