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20 People Shot At DC Block Party, Off-Duty Cop In Critical Condition

Washington, DC – More than 100 gunshots were fired by at least four shooters at a block party in Southeast DC early Sunday morning, leaving 20 people wounded by gunfire, including an off-duty female police officer who remains in “critical condition.”

The incident occurred just after midnight on Aug. 9 when several hundred people were gathered for an annual block party called the “34th-n-EAT” in the area of Dubois Place and 34th Street, SE, The Washington Post reported.

Police had started receiving calls about the chaos in the middle of the Greenway neighborhood at about 9 p.m. on Saturday night, WUSA reported.

Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said Monday that the incident exploded after a dispute between different groups at the unpermitted party and weapons were drawn, WRC reported.

“The preliminary investigation has revealed that over 100 rounds were fired on the scene of this shooting,” Chief Newsham said. “There were multiple shooters who fired simultaneously. We believe that there were at least four and maybe more shooters who all shot at the same time.”

Police said 17-year-old Christopher Brown was fatally shot, WRC reported.

Brown had a one-year-old son and another baby on the way, according to The Washington Post.

Twenty-one other people were injured, 20 of them by gunfire.

“There were 12 female victims, nine male victims,” Chief Newsham said.

One of the women was an off-duty, 22-year-old female DC police officer who has been on the police force for about a year, The Washington Post reported.

Chief Newsham said the unidentified Metropolitan police officer was shot in the neck and “is fighting for her life.”

He said the police department was aware the unpermitted event was happening but did not intervene because 6th District officials didn’t think they had enough police to shut the party down, The Washington Post reported.

“The police officers who were there responded in what I would say was a heroic fashion,” the chief said. “When the gunshots were fired, the police officers ran towards the gunshots.”

Chief Newsham said he was reviewing the district’s response to the illegal event.

“However, I am very concerned that a gathering of that size was able to accumulate without our managers over at the 6th District being able to prevent that. So, we will take a look as to whether that could have been handled in a better way,” he said, according to WTOP.

“I can’t recall a situation where we have that many folks injured by gunfire in one incident in my career,” the chief said.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday that it might be time for DC police to make “difficult decisions” and “break up these events,” The Washington Post reported.

“It’s very important that as a community we have a zero-tolerance for this activity,” Bowser said. “And the community is going to have to understand that some people may have to go to jail.”

On Monday, she expressed displeasure that the enormous event had been held during the pandemic, WUSA reported.

“We need people to socially distance, wear a mask and don’t settle your problems with guns,” Bowser said.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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