Police seek input on block party shooting in Washington, D.C.

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WASHINGTON — Police in the District of Columbia are calling for community input to catch the perpetrators of a mass shooting at a crowded block party over the weekend that left one person dead and 20 others, including a police officer, injured.

“Everybody who attended that event, everybody who has information, has a civic responsibility to let us know who was responsible for this,” said Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham.

Newsham said the shootings appeared to have been sparked by a personal dispute, but said the motives were still being investigated.

The shootings occurred late Saturday night when at least four gunmen opened fire in the midst of a large public cookout in the southeastern Washington neighborhood of Greenway, Newsham said.

A 17-year-old boy was killed and 20 other people injured. Among the wounded were 11 women, including an off-duty female police officer who was shot in the neck and remains hospitalized.

One weapon was recovered from the scene and nearly 100 bullets were fired, police said.

The shootings continue a violent year for the District of Columbia. More than 115 people have been killed this year. This year’s homicide numbers are a 17% increase over this time in 2019, which recorded the highest number of homicides in a decade.

Mayor Muriel Bowser called the shootings “horrific” and said Washingtonians were “fed up with senseless violence and desperate for solutions.”

The large crowded public block party also constituted a flagrant violation of Bowser’s COVID-19 restrictions, which ban public gatherings of more than 50 people. The annual public cookout had been widely advertised on social media and videos show hundreds of attendees.

Police officers were present at the time of the shootings, however Newsham said there were “not enough police officers on the scene to handle a crowd of that size.”

—AP stories contributed to this report.

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