WASHINGTON — A shooting in Southeast, D.C. killed a 17-year-old and left 21 others injured on Sunday, a spokesperson with D.C. Police said.
The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m., near the 3300 block of Dubois Place in Southeast in Ward 7. Police said they started getting calls around 9 p.m. Saturday about the event.
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said 22 people were shot. He said 21 individuals were adults, including 12 of which are women, 9 male victims and 16 people between the ages of 20-29 years old.
One of those victims includes a 22-year-old off-duty 1st District Police officer, who was shot in the neck and is currently struggling for her life, D.C. police said. As of Monday, she has seen some improvement in her recovery, Newsham said.
Cousin Octavia Brown and grandmother Patience Brown said the fatal victim was their loved one,17-year old Christopher Brown, a father to 1-year-old Elijah and an expecting father with a baby on the way. Police said he was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
One neighbor told WUSA9 that the shooting occurred during a block party or cookout that was kicking off on the residential street late Saturday night, with "hundreds" of people in the street.
One resident said he saw a man "slumped over on a car bleeding like crazy," saying many were ducking for cover when shots rang out.
Police were aware of the event in the city, but there was no permit, Newsham said during a news conference on Monday. Police are concerned that a large gathering in this nature happened in the city.
"We need people to socially distance, wear a mask and don't settle your problems with guns," Bowser said during a news conference on Monday.
Over 100 rounds were fired during an exchange of gunfire from multiple shooters, Newsham said. Police believe at least four or more shooters shot at the same time.
Newsham said Sunday morning that there were hundreds of people at the Saturday night gathering.
He said there were officers on the scene, but apparently not enough to break up the gathering. Officers who were at the event responded in a heroic fashion and there is video evidence that shows officers attending to victims at the scene, Newsham said.
“My understanding and this is preliminary and subject to change so take it with a grain of salt please, is that there were officers here. There were not sufficient officers to be able to move a crowd of that size," Newsham said.
The District's current COVID-19 guidelines prohibit more than 50 people to be gathered at one time.
"Preliminarily there were police officers on the scene. I want to confirm that, I want to talk to the management team over here and see if we were doing everything we possibly could," Newsham said. "Because we can't tolerate these types of gatherings in our city during COVID-19, it's just too dangerous."
“I won’t blame the police for allowing this to happen I blame the individuals who made a decision to have an activity in excess of the mayor's directive regarding social distancing and kind of keeping the coronavirus transmission down. The police can only do but so much," ANC Commissioner 7B01 Patricia Howard – Chittams said.
Over 20 responding units arrived at the scene, including paramedics, ambulances and emergency supervisors.
There was one weapon recovered at the scene, Newsham said.
No arrests have been made as of Monday. Police have some information that suggests that one of the shooters is a man and they are currently looking for multiple shooters. They are convinced that there is video footage of the shooters at the event.
D.C. Police are thororughly investigating to see if someone can be charged for holding this event.
Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.
“It looked like there were hundreds of people out here literally just having a party, no one thinking about corona and no one thinking about activities that could cost them more than just having a good time, because corona kills," Howard – Chittams said.
On social media, several accounts posted images of an event called "EAT Cookout" that took place near 34th and Dubois Place with hundreds in attendance. It is not yet confirmed if that was the location of the shooting.
"We have got to start being apart of the solution," John Ayala, the grandfather of 11-year-old Davon McNeal, said. McNeal was shot and killed in a Southeast neighborhood not far from Dubois Place on the Fourth of July.
"D.C. is under siege," he said at Sunday's scene.
"You need to stop because you took away something that belonged to me, somebody that I loved so much and somebody dear to me," Grandmother Patience Brown told WUSA9 in a phone call hours after the shooting.
She described Christopher as a great person and would affectionately call him her "Poppy."
"I know this is not the only child or will be the last child," she continued. "But they need to stop this. I want everybody to be safe and happy. But this is not the way to be safe. And this is not the way to be happy."
Cousin Octavia Brown said she is heartbroken over Sunday's events. Brown came out to the streets of 33rd and Dubois to mourn, telling WUSA9 that Christopher was a great father to his one-year-old son Elijah.
Artecka Brown, Christophers' mother, agrees. She described her son as an energetic person with an infectious smile and a love for dance, the oldest of five boys.
"He was an innocent king...he just wanted to go attend a neighborhood party," she said in a phone call Sunday. "Overall, he is a father, he has a one-year-old son and another on the way."
Early Sunday morning, keys, flipflops and other personal items were still seen scattered on the sidewalk of the scene.
So far this year, the city reports that 570 people suffered non-fatal shootings. And in the past seven days 46 people, including six juveniles, are the District's lastest non-fatal shooting victims.