Trying to fight persistent crime and drug problems in their neighborhood, about 30 residents gathered at First and Bates streets NW Monday night. The residents passed out fliers, patrolled the sidewalks and urged their neighbors in the community just a mile north of Capitol Hill to get involved.
At 2:22 a.m. yesterday, about six hours after the meeting ended, Thomas Long, 48, who lived in the unit block of Q Street NW, was shot to death there, police said. Long was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center at 5:42 a.m.
Residents said they thought they had made some progress in their battle against violence. A week earlier, on Aug. 3, officers started a 24-hour "open-air mini-substation" nearby in the 100 block of Bates Street NW, where three children were shot in May and where a fatal shooting occurred last month.
"We're trying to reduce the level of fear that these folks have," Assistant Police Chief William P. McManus said yesterday, adding that the Bates Street patrol station is the first of six planned for high-crime sections in the city.
Last week, leaders of acclaimed programs to combat crime in Boston and New Haven, Conn., visited Mount Bethel Baptist Church to give their ideas at a community forum. A crowd of 100 people, including D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, greeted their speeches with enthusiasm and calls of "Let's get to work."
McManus said that the Q Street shooting was not gang-related and that police were close to making an arrest yesterday.
At a meeting yesterday afternoon at the Northwest Cooperative, a federally subsidized housing development on Q Street, neighborhood residents said the shooting pointed up the need for programs for young people. A "safe house," financed by the U.S. Justice Department's Weed and Seed initiative, will open Aug. 30 at the cooperative and provide after-school programs to neighborhood children.
The mini-substation is only "a bandage," said Sylvia Matthews, a coordinator of the Circle of Hope Violence Prevention Program. "We have got to get the community involved," she said, adding that residents of nearby N Street NW have driven drug dealers from their block.
The Q Street killing followed two other fatal shootings elsewhere in the city that occurred minutes apart late Monday night. The three killings brought the number of homicides in the District to 137 so far this year, lower than the 154 slayings the city had recorded as of a year ago yesterday, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman.
Sixth District officers arrived at the 1600 block of Olive Street NE at 10:50 p.m. Monday and found a man behind the steering wheel of a Lincoln Continental. The man, whom police identified as James Lewis Bullock Jr., 25, of the 3600 block of Gallatin Street in Hyattsville, was shot in the neck, police said. He was taken to D.C. General Hospital and pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m., police said.
A "large wad" of money was found in a plastic bag on the floor of the passenger side. Police are looking for two men who drove off in an older-model black Lincoln Continental that had primer on its hood and trunk, said Lt. Scott Dignan.
A woman on Olive Street, who declined to be identified, said that she and her husband heard five or six gunshots and that she "just ran and got the phone and called 911."
Dignan described the neighborhood, which borders Prince George's County, as an area of middle-class homes with just a few trouble spots.
He said that police, the D.C. Department of Public Works and the D.C. Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Department had worked last year to clean up alleys and remove abandoned vehicles in the neighborhood. Police also made arrests in connection with drug dealing in one apartment building, he said.
"We did a lot of work up there and we thought we had turned it around," he said. "We rarely have crimes of this sort--like a homicide--in this area."
The other fatal shooting took place about 11:08 p.m., officials said. Fourth District police found a man in a parked white van in the 300 block of Jefferson Street NW. He had been shot several times. The victim, whom police identified as Anthony Steven Watkins, 27, of the 9800 block of Good Luck Road in Lanham, was taken to Washington Hospital Center and pronounced dead at 11:49 p.m.
Lt. Alvin Brown declined to comment on whether investigators have a motive or suspect in the killing. "The investigation is still in its preliminary stage," he said.
Police asked anyone with information about any of the killings to contact the D.C. Crime Solvers Unit at 800-673-2777.