- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Metropolitan police officers yesterday were searching for a lone gunman who shot a 9-year-old boy in the face as he played on the street with other children in a Northwest neighborhood.

The boy was in a coma at Children’s Hospital with a bullet lodged in the back of his head.

Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey announced a $10,000 reward and asked for the public’s help in solving an “absolutely stupid” crime.

A gunman fired several rounds down the 2600 block of 13th Street NW in Columbia Heights about 9:40 p.m. Thursday with about a dozen children sitting and playing in the middle of the block, police Capt. C.V. Morris said.

But it wasn’t clear what the gunman was aiming for.

Extra police officers were sent to the area to try to gather more evidence and search for witnesses yesterday.

“We’re going to keep the heat on in that area,” Cmdr. Larry McCoy said. “We’re looking really for the public’s help.”

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat who represents the area, said the shooting was “insane.” He said a nearby apartment building is the “real problem.”

Mr. Graham said the city should use the law to seize such trouble spots.

“We have to get rid of that building, period,” Chief Ramsey said. “It’s a haven for crime right now.”

Police had been on the block just minutes before the boy was shot to carry out a drug raid, arresting three persons, Cmdr. McCoy said.

Investigators don’t believe the two incidents are linked, “but we’re not eliminating it at all,” Capt. Morris said.

The block had been the scene of two other shootings in recent weeks and at least one stabbing, Cmdr. McCoy said.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams said his thoughts and prayers are with the boy’s family. The mayor said on WUSA-TV (Channel 9) that even though crime has gone down in the city, the shooting shows the work that still has to be done.

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