Nine killed in murder spike in DC

Nine people were killed in separate incidents in D.C. in the past week in what is the largest spike in murders all year.

Police have made arrests in some of the cases, but are asking for the public’s help to solve the others.

The victims, all men, range in age from 20 to 40 years old. Most of the nine homicides have occurred in the Southeast portion of the city where some residents ABC7 spoke with are feeling helpless to stop the violence.

"There's nothing we can do about it except try to stay safe and pray about it,” said Hasting Wyman.

A suspect has been arrested in the shooting death of a 40-year-old cab driver on Saturday, apparently during a robbery.

Police say they have charged 20-year-old Rashad Terrell Slye of Southeast with first-degree murder while armed for the shooting of Domingo Ezirike, 40, of Prince Georges County. The fatal shooting occurred in the 4300 block of Ponds Street, NE, shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday.

"Pow pow- that's all I heard", said neighbor Gerald Lowery, who awoke to the sound of two gunshots.

The youngest victim is a 20-year-old shot near Howard University. Gunfire killed Keenan Jerel Lee, of Capitol Heights, and drew a massive police response involving dozens officers searching for three suspects.

Multiple shots were initially reported at Georgia Avenue and W Street around 10:13 p.m. The shooting triggered a campus-wide alert.

"We heard gunshots and kids started running", says Tiara Joyner, a Georgetown University student, visiting friends for Howard University's Homecoming Weekend festivities.

Authorities say four people carried the badly wounded Lee to nearby Howard University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police have made arrests in four of the nine deaths.

They released surveillance video of two suspects in the shooting of a 22-year-old man on a metro bus. Demetrius Thompson of Southeast was riding a W4 Metrobus near the intersection of 24th Street and Alabama Avenue SE, when he was shot in the face and died en route to a hospital.

Despite the fact that at least two of the murders appear to stem from random robbery attempts, most people we spoke with aren't worried about their own safety.

"I'm not really worried as long as I stay in certain areas I know are safe. I'm not going to be walking down any dark alleys anytime soon,” one said.

One of the deaths, where the victim was found with a knife in his ear, has yet to be officially ruled a homicide. The suspect in that case has only been charged with assault, but that could change when the corner makes a final ruling on the cause of death.

Despite this recent spike, the District remains on track to have the lowest murder rate in decades. There have been 95 homicides so far this year, compared to 132 during all of 2010.

Photos: See mugshots of people recently arrested in the area.