Man who ran for cover during DC shooting demands city action: 'There needs to be more police'

DC police chief says latest shooting 'speaks to the brazenness' of criminals

A man who took cover during a shooting in a popular dining area of Washington, D.C., called on officials to add more police in the city to stop the recent increase in crime. 

"I think there needs to be more police, or … a tougher stance," the unidentified man told WUSA 9 when asked what type of action needs to be taken. "I feel like we haven’t done enough to prevent this," he added. "And now I guess it’s like it's okay to fire off guns right on 14th street. I think we need to take action on this."

Mayor Muriel Bowser's office did not respond to a request for comment on the man's calls for action or how the city plans to address the increase in crimes. 

His comments came after a shooting occurred around 8:20 p.m. at 14th Street NW and Riggs Street NW, near Logan Circle.

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Two people sustained injuries that were not life-threatening. Police said one of the people injured was likely the target of the shooting, while the other person is an apparent innocent bystander. 

Police have not announced any arrests in the case and are asking the public for help tracking down the suspects. 

Video shared by the police department of the suspects shows a man in a lime green/yellow sweatshirt and a man dressed in dark clothing getting into an "older black sedan." 

"When are we going to be sick and tired of being sick and tired?" Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee asked during a Friday press conference regarding the crime.

Contee added that the city is short about 200 officers compared to last year, and explained that calls to defund police departments have not helped his efforts to combat crime. 

"I can't work these officers to death. I'm not going to have them out here making bad decisions, getting involved in use of force incidents. We need to make sure that we are a police department, a major city police department in the nation's capital, that we are properly staffed to where it is we need to be," he said.  

"The real issue is we have a vicious cycle of bad actors who do things, no accountability, and they end up back in community," Contee continued, adding that police are "reclaiming this community" and violent criminals cannot be "coddled."

Video of the scene Thursday night showed diners fleeing the area, with one woman saying she heard between 10 and 15 shots

Crimes often take place in the Southeast region of the city, such as the tragic fatal shooting of a 6-year-old girl last Friday, but are more frequently spilling over into popular areas like 14th Street. 

Thursday’s double shooting comes three weeks after another man was shot and killed by a stray bullet about half a block away while he took a walk with his wife after dinner. 

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"I’ve been hearing concerns about these few blocks for the last year consistently from neighbors who are so concerned about increase in drug activity and increase in reported crime and want to know what the city is doing to keep them safe," Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto, who represents the area, told NBC Washington. 

Another shooting just last week also rocked the city, when gunfire erupted outside of Nationals Stadium during a ball game and sent fans and players rushing to take cover. 

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The call to add more police in D.C. comes after the city council voted last summer to slash the police department's budget by $15 million despite Bowser's objections to the plan. The move came amid calls from the Black Lives Matter movement and Democratic leaders to defund police departments across the nation following George Floyd's death. 

Carjackings have also skyrocketed by about 74% in the city this year, with suspects and perpetrators often being teenaged D.C. residents. 

The carjackings have also spilled over into Maryland, with one case resulting in two teenaged D.C. residents being charged after allegedly stealing a car from a gas station that had a young child in the back seat.