Washington D.C. Shooting: Nearly 100 bullets fired in block party; 1 dead, 20 injured

A seventeen-year-old was killed and an off duty Columbia police officer is fighting for his life after a shooting incident in Washington.

20 people were shot at after a dispute broke out early Sunday at a cookout attended by hundreds.

D.C. police said at least three shooters opened fire from different locations about 12:30am sending panicked partygoers racing for cover and others screaming for friends and relatives.

The dead teenager was identified as Christopher Brown.

“I really don’t understand how my child’s life is just gone,” said the victim’s mother, Artecka Brown, 33.

The unidentified off-duty police officer, who apparently was at the party, was critically injured and was “fighting for her life,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said. Officials said the officer, who is 22 years old and has been on the force about one year, was struck in the neck.

Authorities said there was a dispute before shots were fired, and police said they believe there were exchanges of gunfire. At least 11 of the victims were women. Police initially said 21 people had been shot, but later determined that one of the injured victims had not been struck by a bullet.

Police said nearly 100 bullets were fired.

The party flouted Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser’s order that prohibits groups larger than 50 people

Newsham said police had been aware of the party through an online advertisement for the event and were monitoring it. He said officers called in additional help as the crowd grew, but apparently did not intervene.

He also said they did not believe they had enough officers to break up the gathering.

A Wilson Building official said the administration was exploring whether to penalize the promoters of the block party, who advertised the event on Instagram.

Residents of the neighborhood said the annual block party draws people from across D.C. A flier advertised the fifth annual “34th-n-EAT” cookout, and indicated free food and drinks, with relatives of the teenage victim saying it drew an even larger crowd than in prior years.

Sunday’s shootings came three weeks after nine people were shot in front of a restaurant in another section of the city. That shooting on the afternoon of July 19 left one of the victims dead.

In Washington alone 115 people have been slain this year.

Newsham blames the availability of illegal firearms and says people caught using them are not deterred by the criminal justice system. He also has said criminal suspects freed from jail because of the coronavirus pandemic are contributing to the violence.