D.C. police responded to an unusually high number of reported crimes Friday night and early Saturday morning -- six shootings, three stabbings, two beatings, three rapes and three fires. One man was killed.
"It was quite busy last night. For a while I thought we were losing control," said Capt. Mike Canfield of the police department's Third District, which includes the 14th Street corridor. He said narcotics, and heroin in particular, are the main reason behind the rash of crimes, which he characterized as "the worst I've seen in this area since the late '60s or early '70s."
"It's crazy up here," Canfield added. "Every other person we lock up has heroin on them . . . people are just going wild. Last night was probably worse because it was a payday, but narcotics in the area are really the catalyst for the whole thing. And we expect more of the same tonight."
He pointed to a drug-related incident at 14th and W streets NW as an example. Police charged Lawrence Ward of 2547 Evans Rd. SE with robbery in connection with the theft of $134 from James E. Coleman, 22, of 1507 Newton St. NW, during a suspected drug sale at about 1:20 Saturday morning.
Police say Ward shot Coleman in the hand, and was later beaten by an unidentified assailant. Both Coleman and Ward were taken to Washington Hospital Center, where Coleman was listed in stable condition, and Ward in critical but stable condition last night.
In another incident, 26-year-old Bruce Webb of Southwest Washington was stabbed in the throat during a fight outside a bar on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE. Police said Webb was taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead. No arrests have been made in the case, which remains under investigation.
Police say robbery was the apparent motive in a third episode in which a Southeast Washington man, Cecil Eric Hill, 22, was shot three times as he entered the basement of his apartment in the 800 block of Bellevue Road SE.
Hill, who was treated and released from Hadley Memorial Hospital, told police he was confronted in a hallway by three men who blocked his path. One of the assailants pulled out a gun and shot him three times before the trio fled without taking anything. Police said no arrests have been made.
Crime in Washington has increased dramatically in the past year. In August, reported crimes went up by 33 percent over the previous year. There are now an average of 200 criminal incidents reported each day -- the highest daily average in nearly a decade, according to police.