The man who was the initial victim is expected to survive, police said. They said the woman was struck in the hand. The firefighter was hit in his lower right leg and was treated and released from a hospital.
Officials said the incident, which comes amid a rise in gun violence in the District, has angered and frustrated firefighters.
“Our people were doing what we want them to be doing,” said John A. Donnelly Sr., acting chief of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. “They were responding to a call and they were taking care of a person who was hurt. There were no warning signs. . . . We’re just so lucky it wasn’t worse. There were so many shots.”
Dabney Hudson, the president of the firefighters union, described his colleague as “lucky.” He said that earlier this month, firefighters inside an engine found themselves between a shootout on a street in Northeast, and in Northwest, a firefighter in the tiller of a ladder truck saw a man open fire on Georgia Avenue.
The brazen afternoon shooting is indicative of a violent year in the District. Homicides are up about 20 percent over this time in 2019, and shootings are up about 35 percent.
Police said the first shooting on Sunday occurred about 4:25 p.m. near the convenience store in the 3900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SW, where it splits from South Capitol Street SE in the Bellevue neighborhood.
A police report says a ShotSpotter device, which detects the sounds of gunfire, alerted authorities and police responded. They found the man in the 7-Eleven parking lot. An ambulance and fire engine responded, along with additional police.
Police said the additional shots were fired about 4:40 p.m., wounding the firefighter and the bystander. One bullet struck a parked Jeep Cherokee and a Mercedes-Benz being driven on South Capitol Street. Police say that bullet stuck a rear panel behind the passenger seat. As of Monday evening, no arrests had been made.
Donnelly said he can recall one other shooting of an on-duty firefighter over his three decades with the department, from which he rose from cadet to being nominated as chief in September.
Of firefighters, he said, “They come to help people, so when they’re the victims of a crime, it’s a little scary.”
Fire officials did not identify the firefighter for safety reasons and because he’s a witness in a crime under active investigation. They also did not disclose the location of the firehouse.
Donnelly said he has heard from many firefighters who work in the Bellevue and neighboring Congress Heights communities. “What I hear is frustration that somebody would do that to them,” he said. “They are frustrated by the level of violence, and they’re just fed up.”
Martin Weil and Justin George contributed to this report.