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D.C. police confronted by spate of shootings over Memorial Day weekend

Holiday Market owner Semere Abraha, right, cleans up with a helper after gunfire shattered the glass doors of his Southeast Washington store Sunday morning. A 15-year-old boy was killed. (Peter Jamison/The Washington Post)

The unofficial start to summer began with a surge of violence over the Memorial Day weekend that included fatal shootings in Southeast Washington and five people wounded by gunfire at an entrance to a recreation center pool.

D.C. police said Tuesday that they think two of the shootings might be related — one that injured five people outside the pool entrance in Barry Farm on Monday afternoon and one that killed a man five blocks away and 10 hours later.

Authorities said a shooting Sunday morning in front of a convenience store in Congress Heights that left a 15-year-old honor roll student dead does not appear to be related to other violence. In that gunfire, two men were injured and a 9-year-old girl was hit in the foot.

The surge came four weeks after officials launched the city’s annual summer crime initiative, which boosts patrols and other services in hard-hit areas.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham warned that the weekend gunfire “will not be the new normal.” He added, “Anybody who suggests that doesn’t understand the resiliency of Washington D.C.” He said officers confiscated 20 guns over the three-day holiday.

The violence left more families mourning, including the relatives of 15-year-old Maurice Scott, a high school freshman at Somerset Prep DC Public Charter School. On Tuesday, his mother, Monique Scott, and aunt Sheila Scott Alsbrook went to the medical examiner’s office, where they were shown a photo of the slain teenager.

High school freshman fatally shot outside convenience store

“I just kissed his picture at the morgue,” Alsbrook said. “I just miss him so much. He will forever be in my heart. . . . I can’t imagine a child so young, so close to my family, being taken away so soon.”

Across the District, at least 20 people were shot from Saturday to just after midnight Tuesday. Two of them, including Maurice, were killed by gunfire and a third person died in a stabbing. Much of the violence was concentrated east of the Anacostia River, though shootings were reported in every quadrant, including near Nationals Park and outside the Metro Center Metro station in Northwest Washington.

The latest fatal shooting happened minutes after midnight on Tuesday in the 2600 block of Birney Place SE, in Barry Farm. It claimed the life of William Boykin, 36, of District Heights, Md.

Boykin was the District’s 63rd homicide victim of 2019. While deadly violence had been on the rise earlier in the year, the homicide count is now one less than it was during the same period last year.

Police had few details of Boykin’s killing but said a second man was also shot and wounded in the incident. Newsham said it is “potentially” related to the earlier shooting that happened about 2:30 p.m. Monday outside the Barry Farm pool and wounded five people, including another 15-year-old boy. Police had marked 14 spots where they found bullet casings and said the victims are expected to survive.

Police add patrols for summer crime initiative to combat violence

Maurice was shot in the head about 10:30 a.m. on Sunday outside the Holiday Market in the 3500 block of Wheeler Road SE, down the street from the apartment he shared with his mother and twin sister Melissa, and near his school, where he was studying video production.

Police said a man climbed out of the passenger side of a light-colored sedan and opened fire with a rifle or long gun. A security video from the market shows a young man running to the front door and putting his hand on the handle before falling to the ground as glass shatters around him.

Newsham said investigators do not believe Maurice was the intended target. “From all accounts, Maurice was a good kid,” the chief said.

An aunt, Collette Scott, said Maurice was a “very vibrant boy, very active,” who loved being outside. She said he was protective of his twin sister, even at an early age, acting like a big brother even though he was five hours younger.

“He just made sure nobody bothered her,” Scott said. When they were younger, she said he would apologize if he bumped into her and if she had a toy “that was too heavy for her, he would lift it.”

His other aunt, Alsbrook, described Maurice as a typical teen, playing video games, football and basketball. She said Maurice and Melissa, who also is a student at Somerset Prep, had a running competition to see who could make the honor roll first. She often won. He also had another sister, who is an adult.

Maurice lived on Wheeler Road, known for violence, and Alsbrook worried. “It’s not the best area, but it’s the best they had,” she said.

Alsbrook talked to Maurice a few weeks ago, catching up on his sports and classes. “It was my dream to see my nieces and nephews go to college and be successful in life,” she said. “But now it won’t happen for Maurice. Somebody stole his dream.”

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that William Boykin was the District’s 63rd homicide victim of 2019, one less than at the same time last year.

Perry Stein, Antonio Olivo, Jenna Portnoy and Martin Weil contributed to this report.

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