Seven people were killed in five incidents in less than nine hours late Friday and early yesterday in the District in what Mayor Adrian M. Fenty called a violent night of historic proportions in the city. The first fatality occurred after police confronted a man with a knife.
"On the list of all violent days, it's probably one of the most violent days in recent memory - if not ever," Mr. Fenty said at a news conference yesterday.
Metropolitan police said that of the six killings not involving police fire, five occurred in the department's Fifth District in Northeast, pushing the total number of killings in that district so far this year to 22 - one more than the 21 killings recorded there all of last year.
The spate of fatal violence began at about 9:15 p.m. Friday when police shot a man in his 50s after what appeared to be a domestic dispute, officials said.
Officers fatally shot the man, who was not identified, in the 1600 block of Trinidad Avenue NE after receiving complaints about a man armed with aknife. A woman told officers that the man threatened her, and officers found him behind the building.
At some point, the man lunged at officers from a stairwell, brandishing a knife, police said. Officers fired, killing him.
The officers were identified as Hosam Nasr, 26, and Michael Callahan, 27. Both are three-year veterans of the force, and both were placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation, police said.
At about 12:45 a.m., officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 5300 block of C Street SE and found three victims. Shannon Lewis, 27, who lived on the block, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead.
Two other shooting victims were transported to area hospitals in serious condition. They were not identified.
About 45 minutes later, in the 1100 block of Abbey Place in Northeast, police found a black man suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds. The man, who was not identified yesterday, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Less than a mile and a half away at about 4:15 a.m., officers responded to the 1100 block of Holbrook Street in Northeast, where they found three men suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds.
The men were identified yesterday as Duane Hough, 37, of the 1400 block of Trinidad Street Northeast; Anthony Mincey, 35, of the 600 block of Morton Street Northwest; and Johnny Jeter, 24, of the 1700 block of Holbrook Street Northeast.
The killings appeared to have been the result of an "argument on the block that erupted into gunfire," Assistant Chief Diane Groomes said
At about 6 a.m., police were called to the rear of the 2400 block of 4th Street in Northeast, on reports of an unconscious man. They found Lawrence Simmons, 66, of the 300 block of Channing Street Northeast. Mr. Simmons had severe head wounds and appeared to have been beaten to death, police said.
There were no arrests as of late yesterday in connection with any of the homicides, police said, adding that none of the incidents appeared to be related.
"The incidents are still being investigated, but the last word I heard was that there was no information that definitively linked anything," said Officer Junis Fletcher, a police spokesman.
The killings put the District's total for the year at 72, compared to 67 killings at the same time last year. The District recorded 181 killings last year - far below the peak total of 479 killings logged in 1991 but the first increase since 2002.
Mr. Fenty, a Democrat, said the killings represent an "unbelievably high level of violent crime to take place in a short period of time."
But such crime has become more familiar this year in the Fifth District, which has fueled the city's modest increase in homicides, accounting for nearly one in three killings in the city this year.
Mr. Fenty and police officials in April pledged to target high-crime areas and double the number of officers on patrol in the district in response to the violence after five persons were killed in four days.