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Arrest made in connection with shooting of Commanders running back

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Police have arrested a 17-year-old in connection with the shooting of Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. during an attempted robbery in August along the H Street commercial strip in Northeast Washington, authorities said Wednesday.

D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III announced the arrest at a news conference, condemning the incident as “yet another case of a juvenile with an illegal gun.”

“Enough is enough,” Contee said. “We have to keep guns out of the hands of the youth in our city.”

Contee credited public tips with helping investigators identify the person arrested, who was 16 at the time of the shooting. He said police are still seeking two other suspects, and investigators were trying to determine who fired the shots.

Two people, including the 17-year-old arrested, were believed to have had their hands on the gun at some point, and another drove a vehicle to get away, Contee said. Police did not identify the 17-year-old, who is charged as a juvenile with assault with intent to rob while armed.

“It was because the community called and texted our tip line that we are able to make this arrest,” Contee said. Police had previously publicized photos captured by a nearby surveillance camera of two people they described as suspects in the case.

Police had said previously that two people approached Robinson after he left a storefront in the 1000 block of H Street NE shortly before 6 p.m. on Aug. 28. Police said the player was able to “wrestle a firearm away” from one of the two male assailants before the other shot him. Police said in a news release Wednesday the suspects fled “without obtaining any property.”

The shooting occurred two days before the Commanders had to set their initial active roster for the 2022 season. Robinson, who was selected in the third round of the draft in April, was poised to play a key offensive role, even potentially opening the season as the Commanders’ starting tailback.

But instead of preparing for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, Robinson underwent surgery the day after the shooting at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and began a weeks-long rehabilitation program to return to the field.

The bullets, one of which landed just above his knee and the other in his hip area, fortuitously didn’t cause significant damage and avoided major ligaments and bone.

Robinson was placed on the Commanders’ injured reserve list, sidelining him for four weeks before he returned to practice. He made his NFL debut in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans, recording nine carries for 22 yards.

“I was too happy. I can’t even explain it,” he said the following week. “I’m just blessed to be here, for real. I feel like I’m living my second life.”

In Robinson’s four games (including two starts) this season, he’s totaled 54 carries, 175 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown, as well as two catches for 13 yards.

In a month of recovery, Brian Robinson Jr. did all he could to play again

Contee had said previously the assailants appeared to be between 15 and 17 years old. Police said one firearm was recovered about a block south of the shooting. Prince George’s County police said the stolen vehicle the two used to flee the scene was recovered about four miles from FedEx Field.

Contee said at the news conference that about 900 juveniles had been arrested so far this year — a 13 percent increase from the same time period last year. Police later released data showing that there had been 940 arrests of juveniles through Oct. 24, a 17.6 percent increase from the same time period last year.

“That’s a very alarming number,” Contee said.

After the shooting, Commanders Coach Ron Rivera said he could “feel the anger swelling up” about Robinson’s situation and about gun violence in the United States. Sporting a “Wear Orange” T-shirt to support the gun-violence-prevention movement, he urged more discussion about gun safety.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said that “what we saw in this case and others is just a wanton use of a firearm that hurts somebody.”

The shooting of Robinson also brought new attention to problematic gun violence in D.C. and attempts by city leaders to disrupt crime at three nightlife areas, including the H Street corridor lined with popular restaurants and bars.

Peter Hermann, Lauren Lumpkin and Razzan Nakhlawi contributed to this report.