Correction to This Article
Because of an error on the D.C. police Web site, a July 14 article included an incorrect photograph. Michael Dorsey, who was found killed last week in Northeast Washington, is pictured here.
13 Days, 14 Homicides

Each Victim In the City's Violent July Has a Story

By Robert E. Pierre and Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 14, 2006

The surge in killings started just after midnight July 1 and has barely let up.

A former church usher was gunned down in a courtyard where flowers bloomed. A 24-year-old woman who lost a close friend to gun violence two years ago was herself shot by a neighbor. Two boyhood friends, who were shot at the same time, died days apart. Their cases received little attention compared with the slayings of a convenience store owner, a community activist and an aspiring British politician. But they created the same kind of anguish for the people they knew.

Many of the month's victims, including John Jackson, 26, were shot numerous times.

"I thought it was firecrackers," said Jackson's mother, Shirley Boyd, of the rapid fire -- in a courtyard across the street -- that startled her awake. It was just after 2 a.m. July 7. "They don't shoot with little guns."

There have been 14 homicides this month: Three on the 1st. Two on the 2nd. One each on the 4th and 5th. Two on the 7th. And one each day from July 8 through Wednesday.

As killings go, this is far from the District's worst stretch, nothing like the one starting in 1988 when the city averaged more than a homicide a day for eight of nine years.

Yet after a decade of declining numbers, this month's killings have so alarmed city officials that D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey declared a crime emergency.

All but two victims were men, and most were killed close to home in the wee hours of the morning. The homicides were spread across four quadrants: five in Northeast, three in Northwest, two in Southwest and four in Southeast.

D.C. police Lt. Robert Glover of the violent crimes unit noted that the city's killers are using more guns, firing more rounds and leaving behind crime scenes that often stretch for blocks. Police have made arrests in two of the cases and are seeking leads in the rest.

"I wish we could just wave a magic wand and say, 'Stop killing each other,' " Glover said.

Cover Story: Here are the lives behind the numbers, based on interviews with families, friends and police

July 1: Ronald Anderson

Just over the hill from where the dome of the U.S. Capitol looms in the distant summer haze, and around the corner from the white crape myrtle at the top of some concrete steps, Ronald Anderson's bullet-riddled body was found at 12:15 a.m. July 1.

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