D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), who has been tackling a recent spike in homicides in his ward, had to cancel a 3:30 p.m. news conference about his plan to address the issue to go to the scene of yet another shooting.
The podium that had been set up outside his office for the media event was left empty as he headed to the Excel Institute in Northeast, a vocational school for adults. Two people reportedly were shot while in the lobby and are expected to survive, police said.
"This is a clear indication that mental health services are needed," Thomas said.
Thomas, however, had his 10-point action plan in hand. He had planned to unveil it at the news conference. The plan recommends offering mental health screenings and mediation services at schools, libraries and recreation centers as well as increasing mentoring, job training and GED programs.
The news conference was to follow Thomas's well-attended teen town hall meeting where he talked about the homicides. There have been 17 murders in Ward 5 this year.
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier is scheduled to hold a news conference at 4:30 today.