- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier says the onset of cold weather allows people to conceal weapons in bulky clothes and causes upticks in violence like the six shootings that occurred in the District on Halloween night.

A 17-year-old male shot on M Street in Georgetown shortly before 11 p.m. on Monday was in critical condition Tuesday, police said. He is the only one facing life-threatening injuries among the six victims in five separate incidents throughout the city, police said.

The victims range in age from 16 to 44, although five of them were under 20.

“It is especially disturbing these crimes have involved teenagers,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray said.

Chief Lanier said it is unclear whether Halloween festivities played a role in the incidents, noting no reports of suspects or victims wearing costumes.

She said extra patrols were sent to popular neighborhoods in the city for Halloween, yet street traffic was lower than expected and fell short of weekend crowds.

Nonetheless, she noted, “October is always one of our most challenging months.”

She said cold-weather clothing coupled with street arguments is a “recipe for disaster.”

“Last night is a result of that ability to conceal guns in public,” she said.

In the Georgetown incident, Chief Lanier said a 24-year-old male was in custody after officers chased him down near the shooting at M Street and 28th Street in Northwest and found a pistol in his possession.

He has been charged with carrying a firearm without a license, pending further investigation of any link to the shooting.

She said the victim in the case is a D.C. resident, but does not live in Georgetown.

Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, said the normal precautions had been taken for Halloween festivities and there was a heavy police presence, yet some people “came into the neighborhood” and the shooting occurred.

“People are up in arms,” he said. “People are very concerned that this happened.”

Chief Lanier said two of the other incidents at about 9 p.m. — a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old were shot in the legs at Georgia Avenue and Decatur Street in Northwest shortly before an 18-year-old female was shot in the leg mere blocks away on Crittenden Street — may be linked, although more investigation is needed.

Police are looking for a green SUV that may have been involved in the 8:15 p.m. shooting of a 16-year-old male at Florida Avenue and Staples Street in Northeast.

And a 44-year-old male reported he heard gunshots on Barnaby Road in Southeast at about 10:30 p.m. and then noticed he had been shot in the leg.

Despite the rash of violence, Mr. Gray noted that homicides are down in the city compared to this time last year. There have been 95 homicides so far this year compared to 110 at this time last year.

There have also been 93 fewer non-fatal shootings this year compared to last year, Chief Lanier said.

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