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Man, 20, killed on deadly block of Benning Road in Northeast Washington

D.C. police secure the scene Monday afternoon after a man was killed in the 1800 block of Benning Road NE.
D.C. police secure the scene Monday afternoon after a man was killed in the 1800 block of Benning Road NE. (Peter Hermann/The Washington Post)

This stor y has been updated.

A 20-year-old man was shot and killed Monday afternoon on a block of Benning Road in Northeast Washington that has been the scene of several other violent attacks in the past several months.

Police said Randall Francis, 20, was fatally shot about 1:50 p.m. in the 1800 block of Benning Road NE. An Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner whose district includes that street said Monday night that the young man was a highly regarded graduate of Eastern High School who intended to go to college.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Kathy Henderson, the ANC commisioner. who said she went to the scene and found many of Francis’s relatives there. She said his mother, in “unbearable grief” asked to hold her son’s body.

Henderson issued a statement saying that the killing “appears to be related to a petty dispute.“

The site of the midday shooting was no more than a mile east of the H Street NE entertainment corridor.

It prompted extra police outside two schools that were letting out students, and it shut down both lanes of a major thoroughfare that includes a section of the D.C. Streetcar route. A second person was wounded in the shooting and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, police said.

Track D.C. homicides on an interactive map

A woman who police said believed the victim to be her son sat on a curb in front of a Food 7 convenience store and cried, as the District’s police chief and others consoled her. The young man’s body lay under a white sheet in front of a row of storefronts.

The killing of Francis raised the homicide toll in the city this year to 148, and a second homicide, in the Shaw area, a few hours later, increased it to 149, compared with 105 at this time last year.

In addition, another shooting last night, in the 800 block of Taylor Street NE, left the victim unconscious and not breathing, according to the police. They said he was listed in critical condition at a hospital.

The number of homicides in the city this year is more than in each of the last two years. Officials worry that it is nearing the 162 recorded in 2015.

“I attribute most of the violence we’re seeing to illegal firearms,” said D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham. “The city has got to get serious about guns.”

Shootings were also reported Monday night on Trenton Place and on Jasper Street. The Jasper Street victim was conscious and breathing, a police spokeswoman said. Details of the Trenton Place shooting were not available.

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The chief said it does not appear that the Benning Road shooting — on a street dividing the Kingman Park and Carver-Langston neighborhoods — is related to other recent shootings nearby. Newsham said police believed that Monday’s victim “was the target of the shooting,” though a motive had not been established.

Four people were shot and wounded outside the same line of shops on Sept. 21, and a man was fatally shot there Sept. 24.

A man was fatally stabbed in the 1500 block of Benning Road NE on Nov. 8, and another man was fatally shot in that block Sept. 30.

Police have made arrests or identified suspects in all but the shootings on Monday and Sept. 30.

Henderson, the ANC commissioner, called Monday night for emergency legislation to allow the police to clear the blocks in question of anyone who may congregate there to sell illegal drugs.

In one of the statements she issued Monday night Henderson said the victim had “a promising life full of aspirations, ambitions and hope.” She described him as a model and a photographer. who was deciding on where to attend college.

She also quoted a grandmother of the slain man.

“There was no reason to kill my grandson, who attended church every Sunday and was good person.” she quoted the woman. “ I can’t believe someone would do this…”

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