D.C. police fatally shot a robbery suspect in Southeast Washington on Wednesday afternoon and hours later shot and wounded a suspect in a carjacking in Northeast, officials said.
The first shooting was in the 2800 block of Naylor Road SE, police said. Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said the second happened in the 2200 block of 16th Street NE. Police said that both suspects fired first at officers, who returned fire. Guns were recovered in both incidents, police said. They said officers suffered minor injuries in the second incident.
The Christmas Eve shootings by police were the first in the District at a time of heightened tension between officers and communities nationwide. The killings by police of unarmed men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City have sparked protests across the country. And the brazen fatal shootings of two New York City police officers that followed have put police on edge.
The two shootings by police came on a Christmas Eve marked by four other shootings in the District in which police were not reported involved. A woman was slain at 14th and Randolph streets NW, and three men were gravely wounded in three other incidents, in the 1200 block of Stevens Road SE, the 2600 block of Sherman Avenue NW and the 800 block of Bladensburg Road NE.
The scenes of both police-involved D.C. shootings were calm Wednesday evening.
Cmdr. David Taylor said the first incident began when a robbery was reported at a bus stop at Alabama Avenue and 30th Street. Officers located a suspect, who matched the description they were given.
The suspect was being pursued by officers when he came to a dead end, police said. They said that the suspect fired at officers and that police returned fire. Taylor said three officers were involved in the incident, shortly after 3 p.m.Police would not say how many shots were fired.
Former Marine Reggie Betts, 54, hit the floor of his apartment when he heard the gunfire. “It was like an Uzi — it was more than multiple shots,” Betts said. “There was a lot of shots, and then it was over just as fast.”
Delroy Burton, chairman of the D.C. police union, said he believed that the officers acted appropriately. “They confronted a suspect. He turned toward them, and they shot him,” Burton said. “They reacted like they’re supposed to do.”
While police were at the scene, an armed carjacking of a FedEx vehicle was reported at 5:25 p..m. in the 1300 block of Adams Street NE. Officers spotted the vehicle and began to follow it, said Cmdr. Dierdre Porter.
They entered an alley off the 1600 block of W Street, Porter said. The suspect fired at officers and at least one shot back, hitting the suspect, who was taken to a hospital where he was conscious and talking, Porter said.
A woman said she saw police cars follow a van into an alley, and then she heard “a lot of shots, 25, maybe more.”
Police would not provide the identities or races of either suspect or the officers.
D.C. police were involved in at least one other fatal shooting this year. On Oct. 4 police were helping the US Marshals Service serve a felony warrant in the 3200 block of Wheeler Road SE. The wanted man drew a gun, and refused to drop it, D.C. police said. The member of the Marshals Service and a D.C officer “discharged their weapons, striking the suspect,” police said.
Around 7 p.m., at the scene of Wednesday’s fatal police-involved shooting, police vehicles blocked the walkway where the robbery suspect allegedly ran and drew a gun. Investigators gathered evidence and made measurements.
Paul Trantham, a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, told TV reporters that he was waiting to hear the facts before talking to residents about a possible response. He said he wants community leaders to unite and hold a town meeting. But, already, people were talking about organizing a demonstration Friday.
“It’s sad. Now some mother is grieving instead of celebrating because of the loss of her son,” he said, adding that he “will pray” and “hopes what happened in Ferguson won’t happen here.”
The cases, he said, appear to be different.
Peter Hermann, Arelis R. Hernández and Martin Weil contributed to this report.