Evidence markers are scattered around the crime scene on Birney Place SE, where nine people were shot Saturday night. (Faiz Siddiqui/The Washington Post)

It was a cool, late-summer Saturday evening, and about 150 people had congregated in the Barry Farm neighborhood of Southeast Washington for an annual tradition: Dorsey Day, in honor of a late resident who was known for his community involvement. Some residents were barbecuing while children played in bounce houses and dozens danced to hip-hop and listened to go-go bands.

Around 8:20 p.m., a hail of gunfire brought festivities to an abrupt halt. Attendees scattered, rushing to cars parked along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. One wounded victim fled to find help while private cars sped off with others who had been shot; parents sprinted to the scene to check on loved ones.

Images of evidence markers at the scene suggested that at least 30 shots had been fired.

“I just heard gunshots and all of the crowd ran this way,” said Tiffany Curry, 40, pointing down Birney Place SE, where she lives. Curry had rushed to check on her 17-year-old daughter. “It was grown men pushing kids, stepping on, trampling on kids. Bodies on the ground. It was people all over this daggone area that were shot.”

The crime scene is adjacent to several churches in the Barry Farm neighborhood of Southeast, including Holy Temple Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE. (Faiz Siddiqui/The Washington Post)

Two men were killed and seven others, including a boy thought to be about 8, were wounded, authorities said Sunday. All seven — four men, two women and the child — suffered injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening, police said. Authorities said the boy was talking at the hospital.

Police initially said six people had been wounded, but they raised the number to seven Sunday, saying the seventh victim had fled to a nearby firehouse for help.

Interim D.C. police chief Peter Newsham said Saturday night that he thought the gunfire came from at least two people.

The men who were killed were identified Sunday as Scorpio-Rodney Alonzo Phillips, 31, and Zoruan Otto Harris, 18, both of Southeast. Police have not identified a motive or a suspect.

Phillips was a landscaper and sports fanatic who loved the Redskins, family members said. His daughter had just entered first grade, said his aunt Danita Gray, 50, of Bladensburg, Md.

“He was a nice, loving, caring person, and he loved his mother to death,” Gray said. His mother, Phyllis Gray, was too distraught to speak.

“I just want justice,” pleaded his sister, Tanisha Phillips, 18. “Where was the police?”

Harris had been captain of the football team at National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter High School in Southeast, from which he graduated. The school described him as a “great kid” and “role model” who was a freshman this year at the University of the District of Columbia. He held two jobs and was a responsible father to his young son, the school said.

The founder and executive director of National Prep, Jennifer Ross, said in a statement that the school is “completely devastated over the loss of one of our most esteemed leaders who did everything right and was in the right place (a positive community event) at the wrong time.”

The shooting frightened residents in the Anacostia-Barry Farm neighborhood, some of whom said they were accustomed to violence but were shocked by the callousness of targeting a community event billed as a back-to-school gathering.

“It is just sickening that you can’t bring your kids out to enjoy themselves without them being put innocently in harm’s way,” said Keisha Johnson, 38, a mother of three children ages 20, 13 and 4, who lives in the neighborhood.

The block-long shooting scene was littered with evidence markers, about a dozen clustered in one spot, giving a sense of where the shooting was concentrated. Forensics analysts swept the area for clues Sunday. Meanwhile, residents wondered why police hadn’t done more to thwart a confrontation.

Paul Trantham, an Advisory Neighborhood Commission member in Southeast, was outraged about what he perceived as a lack of a police presence for a planned event. D.C. police did not immediately respond to a query regarding the event’s permitting requirements and whether police were monitoring the large crowd.

Trantham advocated the return of vice squads, the enforcement units made up of plainclothes officers, to monitor drug activity. The program was ended two years ago under former chief Cathy L. Lanier, who resigned this month to take a job at the National Football League.

“Them refusing to do so is allowing these bad boys to continue to parade around our communities shooting anything and everyone,” Trantham said. “It must stop. And the mayor and the interim chief of police can stop it.”

At a briefing Saturday night, Newsham said the gunfire was prompted by a dispute. But officials did not say what the dispute was about or whether it had arisen during or before the event.

Police later said that the organizers should have had a permit and security plan for the event.

“We had a big event here on private property in a private parking lot,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Saturday, calling on community residents to help police with information that could bring “people with illegal guns” to justice.

Phillips and Harris suffered gunshot wounds to the head. The seven other victims fled the scene to multiple addresses, with some being transported to hospitals in private vehicles, police said.

Ambulances arrived within 10 minutes of the shooting and transported two victims to hospitals, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services logs show.

The other victims had left by the time paramedics arrived, fire officials said.

Nate Payne, a field technician at Verizon who lives in the neighborhood, said the event had begun around 11 a.m. or noon. The crowd grew as the day wore on, with about 150 people barbecuing, drinking and taking in the music. He said he was struck by the lack of security. At some point, two suspicious-seeming cars pulled up, he said. Then shots rang out.

“Everybody scattered,” Payne said. “It was just something too good that was going on for too long.”

Birney Place, about a quarter-mile south of the Anacostia Metro station, is a U-shaped residential street lined with apartment buildings. It intersects Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue at an uphill slope dotted by churches.

At nearby Holy Temple Church, a children’s choir that had been practicing Saturday rushed inside, said one congregant in attendance who declined to give his name. Solid Rock Baptist Church, another house of worship adjacent to the shooting scene, was mourning the deaths Sunday.

“It’s terrifying, but there are so many guns that are available,” said the Rev. Millie Brown. “We’re hoping and praying that things will get better.”

Curry, whose daughter emerged from the chaos bruised but mostly unharmed, mourned with Phillips’s family Sunday. She said she couldn’t remember so many people getting shot at once in her four years living in the neighborhood, or in the two decades her family has lived in the area.

“I’ve never in my life seen anything like this,” she said.

To whoever was responsible, she said: “Your day’s going to come. That boy was somebody’s father. You’re going to reap what you sowed.”

This story has been updated.

Clarence Williams and Martin Weil contributed to this report.