- The Washington Times - Monday, May 24, 2004

Metropolitan police are searching for the gunman whose stray bullet hit a 12-year-old girl on the porch of a home in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest on Sunday night.

The girl, struck in the abdomen, was admitted to Children’s Hospital in stable condition, police said. She is expected to make a full recovery.

The girl was hit about 8:50 p.m. outside a house in the 400 block of Shepherd Street NW.

Police said yesterday that a preliminary investigation has revealed that at least one of two black males on a red motorcycle was firing a gun on the block. They said it is unclear what led to the shooting, but that the men on the motorcycle might have been firing at the occupants of a black car as it moved north on Fourth Street NW.

About a dozen shots were fired.

“We will find the people responsible for this; there’s no question in my mind about that,” Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey told WTOP Radio.

He said that despite having additional officers on the street, police can’t be everywhere.

“It’s not just solely about police deployment, or laws, or whatever,” the chief said.

“We’ve got these very vicious people out here that are so reckless that they simply do not care.”

Sunday’s shooting marks the second time this month a child has been hit by stray gunfire in the District.

On May 3, Chelsea Danielle Cromartie, 8, was fatally shot while she was watching television inside a relative’s home in Northeast. She was the 13th person younger than 18 slain in the city this year.

Two brothers have been arrested and charged in her death.

In January, three men were shot in daylight while they were in a car on the same block as Sunday’s shooting. The driver of the car was killed.

After that shooting, city officials declared the neighborhood one of 14 crime hot spots, meaning that the areas are afforded additional patrol officers.

D.C. Council member Adrian Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat, said that residents he has spoken with have not seen the additional police presence and that the shooting in a designated hot spot could cause many to lose confidence in the initiative.

He said that the neighborhood is a well-kept blend of longtime and new city residents, but there is “an element in this area of drug dealing and gangs that the police department has to do a better job on.”

“It’s sad,” Mr. Fenty said. “It’s just sad that it’s happening so frequently. It will only stop when we take crime and the incidents of crime seriously.”

Police yesterday announced they were adding $10,000 to the standard $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police at 202/727-9099.

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