In the wake of two highly publicized cases in which Southeast Washington residents were terrorized by apparently random shootings, a crowd of several hundred residents reacted angrily last night to assertions by D.C. police officials that the department is doing everything it can to deal with crime in their community.

The meeting called by D.C. Council member Wilhelmina Rolark (D-Ward 8) to discuss the shootings and subsequent arrests turned into a forum for residents to express their anger at what they consider inadequate police response in their neighborhoods of Washington Highlands and Congress Heights.

"Why wasn't I told about the peeping Tom shootings? . . . Why wasn't I told so I could take some precautions?" local resident Mary Diggs asked, referring to seven incidents since early September in which a gunman fired into ground-floor apartments.

Police announced the crimes after the fifth victim, an off-duty police officer, was wounded Oct. 14.

D.C. Police Chief Maurice T. Turner Jr. told her, "Someone did try to notify the community after the third shooting. I am disappointed that the word wasn't disseminated and, after the word was passed on, that we had {a} fatality."

Although Rolark tried to keep the rest of the meeting focused on the shootings, questions came up about allegations of police brutality, staffing of the local precinct, actions of the U.S. attorney's office, police officers' treatment of black prisoners versus that of white prisoners, and drug trafficking in the area.

Assistant Chief Isaac Fulwood was applauded when he said he had spent every night of the last week in the police department's 7th District.

"You deserve quality police protection," he said.

But when he told the audience that Georgetown did not have any more protection than their neighborhoods, several did not agree. One man called out "liar," while others murmured their disapproval.

"Georgetown gets no more protection than any other section," he said. "Come to my office and I will show how the manpower is distributed. I will retire before I let Georgetown get more officers than you."

Rolark faulted the U.S. attorney's office for not initially charging Ian James Blair of Oxon Hill with first-degree murder in an Oct. 11 incident in which he was accused of firing at nine people from his car, striking one of them fatally.

Also, she criticized the city Parole Board for not revoking parole for Ricky Brogsdale in June when he was arrested on an indecent exposure charge. Brogsdale was charged early Sunday with one peeping Tom slaying.

Later, Turner said that questions from the meeting reflected concerns of residents throughout the city.

"Everywhere I go, everyone wants more police officers," he said. "One of my deputies met with the businessmen in Georgetown last week, and the first thing they asked for was more officers."

Turner said he thought that drug problems in Washington underpin the concerns he heard expressed at the meeting.

"People are tired of drugs in their community, and they want something done about it," he said.

"The majority of the drug dealers come from this area, and this is where they return when they get out of jail. We have had 50 homicides in this district alone this year. There is no easy answer to the problem."