About a half dozen D.C. police officers fanned out in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest Washington last night, knocking on doors, passing out fliers and seeking clues in an unsolved shooting three months ago that critically wounded a 12-year-old girl who was sitting on her porch.
The sight of uniformed and plainclothes officers banging on doors and the crackle of police radios seemed to comfort many in the neighborhood around Fourth and Shepherd streets, where a stray bullet struck the girl in the abdomen May 23.
The girl and her family have moved from the neighborhood, police said.
"It's wonderful that they're out doing a follow-up," said neighborhood resident Fan Small. "I hope they continue to follow up until they finally catch whoever did the shooting."
Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham, who was standing across from the house where the violence occurred, said the media were notified of the canvass to ensure that community residents know that police haven't forgotten the shooting.
"It's the 90-day anniversary" of the shooting, Newsham said. "We obviously haven't closed the case. We want to come back out here and be as thorough as possible. Maybe someone in the neighborhood has heard something or seen something that they didn't think was important."
Police have said that two men on a red motorcycle began firing at a black car in the 400 block of Shepherd Street NW about 8:50 p.m. that Sunday. The only person struck, apparently, was the girl.
Last night, officer Kenneth E. Johnson walked up and down the 3900 block of Illinois Avenue NW, knocking on doors and passing out copies of a flier in English and Spanish that mentioned the shooting, a $15,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case and a D.C. police phone number for people to call with information: 202-727-9099.
Some residents appeared a bit apprehensive when they opened their doors, only to see a police officer. But Johnson seemed to put them at ease, often taking only a minute or two of their time, handing them the flier and encouraging them to call if they had information. Many residents said they have noticed an increased police presence in the neighborhood since the shooting.
Ryan Barnes, 10, who sat on his bike in the street talking to police officials, said he thought it was "nice" that police were following up on the shooting.
"I don't want anyone else to get shot," he said.
His cousin Kiera Smith, 8, added: "They had no business shooting that little girl. She could have died."