A District man was fatally shot yesterday morning in the Petworth section of Northwest Washington, where just 16 hours earlier neighbors met with police to discuss drug violence.
Antonio Brown, of the 1100 Block of Lamont Street NW, was shot about 11:30 a.m. in the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road NW, said 4th District Sgt. Jose Bimbo. Brown was taken to Washington Hospital Center and pronounced dead at 11:56 a.m. He is thought to have been in his early twenties, Bimbo said.
Yesterday's killing was the third fatal shooting on that block in the last six months. Police believe the violence may be related to gangs that frequent the area, Bimbo said.
In June, Dante Green, 26, of the 600 block of Quebec Place NW, was shot several times in the chest, and Lakecia Wesley, 20, of the 600 block of Edgewood Street NE, was shot in the head in a house on that block. Police arrested 19-year-old Arvin Brown, of the 200 block of 47th Street SE, in Green's slaying. Wesley's case is still under investigation.
"It's just so sad," said Sylvia Stevens, 42, a former D.C. police officer who has lived in the neighborhood for six years. She said that although she often sees what she suspects are drug deals on the corner, she recently thought the neighborhood was getting safer.
The Rev. Franklin Pryor, associate pastor at First Baptist Church, in the 700 block of Rock Creek Church Road, said he held a basketball tournament about three months ago to help get young people off the streets and has met with law enforcement officials. He said that they talked about stricter jail sentences for drug dealers and that people on one block can't fight the problem of gangs and drugs without more help from the court system.
Neighbors said that at Tuesday's meeting, police promised increased patrols in the area and that officers would work with the community to host more events like the basketball tournament.
Residents said yesterday that they were especially alarmed that the shooting occurred in the morning, because most violence takes place in the evenings. Witnesses said the shooting looked like a violent television show, with a chase through the streets, a scene all too real because they have seen it from their kitchen windows before.
"I just saw this guy come running around the corner at 11:30 in the morning," said Ron Wooten, 32, a longtime resident. "Then I heard three more shots. Someone was shooting after him in the daylight."
His mother, Irene Wooten, said the block is a magnet for people who come from outside the neighborhood to congregate on the corners.
"If it was just the people that live in this neighborhood, then nothing would happen," Wooten said. "There are people who come here and stand on the corner from other places. We are not sure what to do anymore."