“It’s scary to have these kinds of things happen,” said Alex Marriott, the chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the area in Northwest Washington. “It’s a safe neighborhood, and it’s been a safe neighborhood for a very long time.”
Marriott said residents are worried the area might “revert back to the days when this kind of activity was a lot more common.”
Authorities are upping police patrols but as of Monday had not made any arrests or determined what sparked the shootings. “There are too many illegal weapons on our streets, and too many people willing to pull the trigger,” said Cmdr. Stuart Emerman, who runs the 3rd District station that encompasses Shaw.
Emergency community meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Shaw Watha T. Daniel Library and for 6 p.m. Thursday at the United House of Prayer. A third meeting is tentatively set for Oct. 21.
The Shaw neighborhood has been among one of the District’s most quickly gentrifying areas and is transforming with newly renovated rowhouses and apartment buildings. The recent shootings have occurred near some of the area’s gathering places — the Shaw-Howard University Metro station and the Giant Food store at 8th and P streets.
The incidents have some residents recalling the summer of 2015, when a community activist was killed by a stray bullet at a Memorial Day cookout and a financial analyst was killed when he was caught in a gun battle outside the Shaw Metro station.
Marriott said Monday he believes police “are really stepping up their presence, and I think you will see this kind of activity die down.”
Another advisory neighborhood commissioner in Shaw, Alexander M. Padro, said the situation today is a far cry from the violence years ago, but he said he remains worried about what he calls an uptick of lawlessness that includes the smoking of marijuana outdoors and drinking alcohol and urinating in public.
“It’s a slippery slope from that to the shootings,” said Padro, who has represented the area for 20 years. “I’m trying to convince [D.C. police] that they need to return to their past practices and put an officer on foot here on a daily basis.”
Padro added, “It should not be open season for every kind of illegal activity in this neighborhood.”
Emerman, the police commander, said detectives are trying to determine whether the shootings since Sept. 29 are related, given their timing and proximity. He said investigators are exploring many possible angles, such as petty disputes, rival crews or even internal arguments within a single crew.
The police commander said authorities believe the teenager struck outside the Giant was a bystander and was not targeted.
Statistics from D.C. police show unarmed and armed robberies are up this year in two patrol areas that include the Shaw area, and assaults with guns are roughly even compared with the same period last year. Homicides across the District are up 7 percent this year.
Last week, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham authorized overtime for officers in three areas of the city hit hard by violent crime, among them the 3rd District, which includes Shaw and Columbia Heights, where last month a gunman armed with a high-powered rifle fired into a courtyard, killing one man and injuring five others.
In the latest shooting in Shaw, a teenage girl was shot in the leg about 2 p.m. Sunday outside the Giant. A police report says she had bent down to tie her show when she heard four or five shots. She tried to get behind a vehicle but collapsed from a wound to the right knee.
A D.C. police officer put a tourniquet on her leg, and she was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive. Police said they were looking for a boy about 14 years old armed with a black handgun.
That shooting occurred hours after police said a 19-year-old man was shot in the legs near 7th and R streets NW, near Rhode Island Avenue and about three blocks north of the Giant. A police report says callers to 911 reported hearing rapid shots about 11 p.m. Saturday. Police said another victim was struck by flying debris and three vehicles were damaged by bullets.
The fatal shooting occurred the night of Sept. 29, when police said Tahlil Byrd, 19, was struck by bullets in the 600 block of S Street NW, two blocks from where the 19-year-old was wounded. Byrd died at a hospital.