- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eight people have been fatally shot in the District and 19 wounded since July 22, including a couple found slain execution-style in their Southeast apartment Monday night. In a seven-hour period, four people were gunned down, including the couple, and three were wounded, almost all in Southeast.

The crimes - which police said were unrelated - come as Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier tries to mount a full-court press to tamp the violence following several recent outbreaks.

Metropolitan Police said they would not set up controversial traffic checkpoints in the area, as they have done in violent Trinidad section of Northeast, since the slayings appear to have been committed by neighborhood residents.

But police spokeswoman Traci Hughes said the department will increase “visible patrols” and undercover efforts.

A citywide police surge also will go into effect next month as planned, but not as a direct response to the recent gun violence.

“There is an All Hands on Deck scheduled for early August,” Mrs. Hughes said. The measure is designed to put as many patrolmen on the streets as possible over weekends and holidays, which are typically high-crime periods.

Chief Lanier recently spelled out conditions for setting up community checkpoints, a tactic that has drawn a civil-liberties lawsuit against the city.

“The Neighborhood Safety Zones Initiative is used specifically when people from outside a community are driving into that community and committing serious acts of violence,” she said at a news conference on Monday, before the most recent shootings.

The first Southeast homicide victim Monday was found shot in the head on Buena Vista Terrace. He was later pronounced dead.

About four hours later, a man and a woman, new to the neighborhood, were shot dead at close range inside their apartment at 1701 Q St. Southeast and were pronounced dead at the scene. Channel 4 News reported that the woman was shot several times in her bed, while the man was found tied up and shot multiple times in the back of the head.

Police are looking for two black men in connection with the crime.

“I don’t understand it. It’s not like they were here long enough to make any enemies,” said Barbara Clark, a District 8 Neighborhood commissioner.

Just after 2 a.m. Tuesday, a man with multiple gunshot wounds was found on Southern Avenue. He was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

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