Washington weekend shootings highlight rising gun violence in capital – .

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Washington weekend shootings highlight rising gun violence in capital – .



Two high-profile weekend shootings in Washington, one killing a 6-year-old girl and the other causing the evacuation of the Washington Nationals stadium, have highlighted the rise in gun crime in the nation’s capital and across the country. some American cities.

In the District of Columbia, the number of assaults involving a firearm has increased year over year since 2018 and is higher this year than at the same time in 2020, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Washington, DC Metropolitan Police data. Public portal of the department.

Over the weekend in the District of Columbia, 455 assaults involving firearms were reported, up from 422 as of mid-July 2020, according to police data. The assault category includes any use of a firearm in the incident and is not limited to gunfire. Specific data on the shootings was not readily available on Sunday.
Higher rates of gun crime reflect trends in other cities like New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, where shootings are up from this point last year and homicides are on the rise or near high levels observed last July.

“It’s a pretty national phenomenon,” said David Abrams, an economist and law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studies crime. He said the rise in shootings and homicides in many major cities began in mid-2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, but researchers are still sifting through the data to isolate specific causes.

Fans rushed out of the seats after hearing gunshots outside the stadium as the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals played on Saturday night.

Photo:
John McDonnell / The Washington Post / Associated Press

The increase in murders in American cities has been concentrated in poorer neighborhoods with persistent histories of violence. These neighborhoods, which also have higher black and Hispanic populations, faced a new wave of gun violence and gang activity when the Covid-19 closures were implemented last year, closing schools and courts and putting additional pressure on the police.

6-year-old Nyiah Courtney was killed in a shootout that injured five other people – two women and three men – in southeast Washington, DC on Friday night Police circulated a photo of a vehicle that, she said was involved in the shooting, but had not made an arrest in the case on Sunday.

At a press conference on Saturday, Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee said the shooting was an act of cowardice and called on the community to help police make an arrest.

“I understand that Nyiah is starting grade one this fall. It will not happen, and frankly, it is unacceptable to me and it should be for everyone in this city, ”he said.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the shooting was an example of too much gun violence in the city. “Someone else could be killed tonight. Someone else could be killed the next night because too many people are willing to use guns, ”she said.

In addition to an increase in assaults involving guns, the District of Columbia recorded 198 homicides last year, its highest number since 2004. As of mid-year, the city is on track to match that. number, according to police data.

In Washington, the police department had reported 101 homicides as of Friday, the same number as at this point in 2020. Yet, overall, violent crime is down in the city compared to the same time period. last year, according to police department figures, in large part due to a decrease in sexual assaults and incidents without a gun.

A day after the Nyiah shootout and about 3 miles north of where she was killed, the Washington Nationals baseball team evacuated their stadium late in their game on Saturday night after a shootout right at the outside the stadium.

Three people were injured in the incident, which does not appear to be related to the game, Ashan Benedict, deputy chief executive of the Metropolitan Police Police, said at a press conference. One of them was a female attending the match but who was outside the stadium at the time, he said.

Mr Benedict said it was a shootout between people in two vehicles, who fled. Police recovered one of the vehicles and said on Sunday they were still looking for the second car, a gray sedan.

The shooting took place in the sixth inning of the game against the San Diego Padres, which was suspended shortly after.

The echoes of the gunfire prompted fans at the stadium to flee their seats. Some fans hid under their chairs, while others ran for the exits or jumped onto the field, running along the lines of first and third base. Players and officials left the field, and the more expensive seats behind the plate were among the first to disappear.

Other supporters took refuge on the ground between the seats, and even more gathered in the canoes of the two teams. Part of the panic inside the stadium was caused by fearful fans – mistakenly, it turned out that there was an active shooter inside the stadium, according to the Wall Street Journal reporters in the stadium at the time.

The stadium, with a capacity of 41,000, was almost full as the Nationals had recently eased restrictions in the event of a pandemic.

In total, between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon, 18 violent crimes involving firearms were reported in Washington.

Write to Chad Day at [email protected]

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