3 separate deadly overnight shootings in Northeast DC bring 2018 homicide total to 119

(Photo, ABC7)

A trio of deadly shootings in the District has resulted in a sobering statistic: 119 people have been killed in the nation’s capital since the beginning of the year.

That’s three more people than in all of 2017.

“It’s like the wild, wild west out here,” says Melanisha Wilson, who was walking along Benning Road, NE Tuesday afternoon. “I hope it gets better. We don’t need so much more violence.”

The gunfire began around 7:30 Monday night.

Officers were called to the 1800 block of Benning Road.

Outside a convenience store at 17th & “I” Streets, they found 25-year old Marquiawn Williams shot multiple times.

Authorities say he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

“It was so chaotic. The police tape was up, the store owner was distraught,” recalls ANC Commissioner Kathy Henderson. “We walked into the crime scene, it happened already.”

Henderson and MPD 5D Commander William Fitzgerald were among those participating in an anti-crime walk that began at 19th & “L” Street.

Then came the word that someone had been shot, just blocks away.

“Commander Fitzgerald had gotten the call that there was a shooting and so we continued our walk,” Henderson says. “We weren’t going to disperse and go home, we continued to walk with him.”

Neighbors were already nervous after a Friday night shooting on the very same block, that left four people with non-life threatening injuries.

Police have released video and still photos of two people of interest, but so far, there’ve been no arrests.

Authorities believe many of this year’s homicides are personal; the incidents begin as fights or disagreements that escalate into gunfire.

“Not random acts, people known to each other, people who have been involved in violence before,” says DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “So we’re really calling on our prosecutors and courts to hold dangerous individuals and seriously prosecute violent crime in the district.”

Bowser says she and MPD have had extensive talks with DC Council Members on passing laws to get more illegal guns off the street.

Police are also investigating a second shooting that happened about two hours later.

Officers responding to the report of a shooting on the 2300 block of 14th Street, NE, found 47-year old Ervin Aull suffering from a gunshot wound.

He too, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

“A lot of this happens out of despair, unemployment, lack of education, and a lack of community involvement,” says Raymond, a Benning Road resident who doesn’t want to give out his last name.

The life-long DC resident believes getting the African-American church community involved could make a difference.

“It means nothing to come out here one night,” he declares. “You got African-American churches on every corner in the District of Columbia. If just one tenth of them came out every night and engage with the people”

A third shooting came hours later, at 3:11 in the morning.

Along the 6200 block of Eastern Avenue, near a gas station, police found an unidentified 23-year old man, shot in the chest and back, who later died at the hospital.

Three deadly shootings, that have pushed the DC’s homicide rate higher.

Bowser says police patrols will be ramped up wherever necessary, and Henderson notes MPD says it will continue a high presence along Benning Road.

Melanisha Wilson says she will be extra watchful from now on.

“I worry every single day because I never know what’s going to happen to me,” she says. “I have to be very cautious, just to make sure the neighborhood is safe for me to be out here.”

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