- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Metropolitan Police Department yesterday tripled the number of officers on duty in response to the deadly, nearly five-hour surge of crime over the weekend in which four people were killed and several others wounded.

The violence began Friday shortly before midnight and ended early yesterday at about 4:30 a.m.

In response, the department is putting 1,200 officers on city streets immediately, Chief Cathy L. Lanier said yesterday while standing a few blocks from Morse and Montello streets Northeast, where an unidentified 31-year-old male was found dead at 2:07 a.m.

The first shooting occurred Friday at about 11:30 p.m. inthe 100 block of Galveston Place Southwest, where an unidentified male was found shot in the back. He is expected to survive. Over the next several hours, officers responded to one stabbing and seven other shootings.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said the first hot days of spring often result in violent sprees across the country, but that the near-80-degree temperatures this weekend were no excuse for city officials.

“Just like in any other city — Chicago, New York, Los Angeles — crime escalates when the temperature rises,” said Mr. Fenty, a Democrat. “But that doesn’t excuse our efforts. This is intolerable, and there is no place for this in the District or anywhere else. We understand we have a huge obligation to do something about this.”

Last weekend in Chicago, nine people were killed in 36 shootings. Police said at least 14 of the shootings were gang-related and that an AK-47 was used to shoot up a plumbing-supply store.

Chief Lanier said at least some of the D.C. attacks this weekend appear to be related to neighborhood or territorial disputes and that no arrests have been made.

The first homicide was discovered at about 12:32 a.m., when police arrived at Greater Southeast Hospital. Upon arrival, they found Kenneth Walley, 31, of the 3900 block of Eighth Street Southeast. An investigator later learned Mr. Walley was shot at Yuma and Eighth Street Southeast, then drove himself to the hospital. He was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he later died.

Police responded to the second fatal shooting about 25 minutes later. Officers found Billy Evans Middleton at his residence, in the 3000 block of Stanton Road Southeast, dead with a gunshot wound to the head.

The third homicide victim was found at 2:07 a.m. outside a recreation center at the corner of Morse and Montello streets Northeast. The killing marked the eighth in the Fifth Police District in less than two weeks.

Police found the fourth fatal-shooting victim at about 4 a.m. in the 2400 block of Elvans Road Southeast. He has been identified as Erric Woods, of Capitol Heights. Mr. Woods had been shot several times.

In addition, two people were injured in an attack in the 2700 block of Langston Place Southeast. And another was injured in a shooting at about 4:40 a.m. on 49th Street Southeast.

Responding to a concern about why the department was not better prepared for the seasonal violence, Chief Lanier said that it usually occurs in the District in June and July. She also said her signature All Hands on Deck community-police initiative is scheduled to start next weekend.

The weekend killings in the Fifth District were especially difficult for residents in the working-class neighborhood, which include Trinidad and Ivy City and where the first of the eight killings occurred April 14 — at North Capitol and R streets Northeast.

Investigators say some of the attacks might involve neighborhood gangs — called crews — and that they are asking members for information.

“We’re trying to find the new crew members and the known crew members,” Fifth District Cmdr. Lamar Greene said Thursday. “We’re working diligently to keep the crew wars from repeating.”

Cmdr. Greene also said the department has been looking at crews in at least two shootings in the district.

John Mozon, 65, a resident of Northeast, said the recent increase in crime is about retaliation.

“It’s about ‘This is my country. This is my turf,’ ” he said. “ ’You kill my buddy, I’ll kill yours.’ ”

The weekend attacks bring the number of killings in the District this year to 50.

Mr. Fenty said the number is the same as last year’s at this time, but still too many.

“I’m frustrated,” he said. “But we’re going to redouble our efforts to catch the people who do this.”

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