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In neighborhood where 6-year-old was wounded, residents say gunfire is common

Tarsha Ingram and her three daughters were carrying groceries into their Southeast D.C. apartment Thursday night when they heard gunfire.

Much of what happened next, the mother said, is difficult to remember. But at one point she reached out for the youngest girl, a 6-year-old, and realized the child had been shot.

“I think it’s just really starting to hit me right now,” Ingram said Friday morning as she stood inside her apartment in the 2700 block of Langston Place SE in Garfield Heights.

Daziyah Ingram was struck in the left ankle. Her mother said the girl’s older sisters helped comfort the first-grader until an ambulance arrived.

“I think I panicked more than she did,” Ingram, 40, said of Daziyah. The girl was treated at a hospital and is now staying with one of her sisters. She’s doing “okay,” her mother said.

Tarsha Ingram doesn’t know who fired the shots or why, but she doesn’t believe the gunman was targeting her family. Gunshots in the neighborhood — where she’s lived all her life — come with the territory.

The shooting comes in a summer where gunfire in the District has left one other young girl dead and injured another. Makiyah Wilson, aged 10, was shot and killed July 16 in a courtyard in a Northeast neighborhood. On Aug. 21, a 6-year-old girl was shot in her left leg in the 100 block of 56th street near Marshall Heights — also in Southeast.

Police link feud between D.C. neighborhoods to fatal shooting of 10-year-old girl

Deadly violence has been a concern across the city this year, with 104 homicides as of Friday evening — a 37 percent increase from the same period in 2017.

On Friday afternoon, D.C. police released a video depicting a suspect and vehicle they said were connected to the shooting. Ingram said police haven’t provided her with any additional details.

“I was already ready to move, and now I’m really ready to go,” Ingram said.

Some of her neighbors say they have become numb to the violence.

Caprice Coles, who has lived in an adjacent building for 10 years, said she and her children — who play outside with Daziyah almost every day — weren’t fazed by the flurry of bullets Thursday night.

It wasn’t until she heard sirens moments later that Coles realized someone had been shot.

“My son is 8. He’s so used to it that when he hears fireworks he drops to the floor immediately because he thinks it’s a gunshot,” Coles said. “That’s how immune we are to gunshots in this area.”

While this summer was relatively quiet in the neighborhood, Coles said the fall and winter months usually mean hearing gunshots three or more times a week.

In 2017, her nephew, then 17, was shot in one of the complex’s buildings, she said.

Coles and others complained that the streetlights overlooking the parking lot where Daziyah was shot haven’t worked all summer, leaving the neighborhood pitch black at night. Police were forced to use their flashlights to canvass the area and collect evidence Thursday night, she added.

“I just feel as though because we’re east of the river, we get no type of help,” Coles said. “We don’t get the type of help you would get if you lived up in Northwest.”

A friend of Coles who lives in the complex said she agreed.

More than half of the 104 homicides in the District this year have taken place east of the Anacostia River.

On Friday, Ingram reiterated that she’s ready to move out of the neighborhood she’s lived her entire life if it means keeping Daziyah and her other children safe.

“She’s a lovable, caring little girl,” Ingram said. “Everybody loves her.”