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THE DISTRICT

4 Shot in D.C., 4 Officers Injured in Subsequent Chase

North Capitol Street was closed in both directions for hours as D.C. police investigated a shooting in which four people were wounded near R Street in Northeast Washington. Three people were being questioned last night.
North Capitol Street was closed in both directions for hours as D.C. police investigated a shooting in which four people were wounded near R Street in Northeast Washington. Three people were being questioned last night. (By Michael Williamson -- The Washington Post)

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By Clarence Williams and Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Three young men and a 17-year-old girl were shot in the middle of rush hour yesterday afternoon on North Capitol Street, D.C. police said, with the victims felled on sidewalks on both sides of the road.

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One of the young men suffered a head wound and was in critical condition, police said.

The shootings near the Eckington neighborhood led to a police pursuit on busy streets, and then a crash in the Chillum area. Four officers received injuries that were not considered serious, police said. Three people were caught in the minivan that police were chasing and were being questioned last night.

Traffic was blocked on part of North Capitol Street.

Police said the trouble began at 4:40 p.m. at North Capitol and R streets. It was not immediately clear whether shots came from the minivan.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said she suspected that the shootings were tied to gang activity. The area has been a trouble spot, she said. In April 2008, for example, two people were killed and a third wounded on successive afternoons.

"We've put a lot of work in here in the last year and a half," Lanier said. "We do have known gangs in the neighborhood that have been involved in disputes back and forth. We dealt with them at the beginning of the year. We were able to quiet things down for awhile."

Witnesses said a brown Dodge Caravan minivan might have been involved in the shooting. It left at high speed. Police chased a minivan that seemed to match the description. It crashed trying to turn onto Amherst Road from Riggs Road.

The injured officers were taken to a hospital with neck, back and other injuries. No civilians were injured.

Staff writers Aaron C. Davis and Martin Weil contributed to this report.


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