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Checkpoints Resume After Spate of Violence
At 11:33 p.m. Friday, Keith Ricardo Hines, 29, was found shot in the head. Police said his body was found lying in the 900 block of Allison Street NW, where he lived.
Later, 13-year-old Alonzo Robertson was shot and killed in the 1500 block of Holbrook Street NE in Trinidad. Police said at the news conference that Alonzo was with his mother, who was also shot and wounded, and another man who was hurt. However, a police memorandum from the 5th Police District commander said four individuals were shot at that location.
Neighbors said the boy was visiting from a southern state -- they could not recall which -- and seeing relatives. According to Tony Parks, who was visiting a friend in the same two-story apartment complex where Alonzo had been staying, the boy was sitting outside on a fence shortly before the gunfire.
Parks said the youngster was talking to a man, who was teaching him riddles and trivia games. Parks said he went inside just after 2 a.m. and heard shots about 20 minutes later.
Lanier said that police believe three suspects came from outside Trinidad and began robbing random groups in the neighborhood. Police said they planned to release descriptions of the three soon, and that they were searching for a car the three had been in, a gold 2002 Dodge Intrepid.
According to police, the car entered Trinidad between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. and proceeded to the 1200 block of 16th Street NE, where one or more of the suspects opened fire on a group of people standing there.
It was difficult to tell how much of the violence investigators think the suspects in the car were responsible for. A police description of 11 violent incidents showed that Alonzo was killed at 2:30 a.m., and two more incidents occurred after that, one in Northwest.
The police memorandum said that the suspects used at least one car to go to four different locations in Trinidad and to flee the scenes after each shooting.
Some Trinidad residents said yesterday that they supported new checkpoints as a way to stop further violence; others said even if they did, the trouble would resume when the checkpoints end.
Lanier has taken steps in recent months to try to stem violence that has claimed 99 lives this year. That is the same number of homicides in the same time period as last year.
Police have installed sensors in Trinidad to connect the community to the ShotSpotter network around the city, which detects gunfire and alerts police. Lanier also said that some patrol officers will be armed with semi-automatic rifles. And she has an initiative called "All Hands on Deck" in which officers flood a neighborhood for a specific period of time.
D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) said the violence underscored the need to maintain strict gun control laws that comply with the Supreme Court's ruling last month, which knocked down the city's handgun ban as unconstitutional. He also said community policing -- where police officers maintain a regular presence in an area -- was key to stopping the violence.
"I think the next six to eight weeks are a critical time because kids are out of school, it's hot and there are a lot of people out on the street," he said. "I like the chief's 'All Hands on Deck' idea, but I don't know what happens on those days when people are off."
Staff writer Matt Zapotosky and researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.