- The Washington Times - Monday, March 11, 2013

Thirteen people were injured in a drive-by shooting outside an apartment complex in Northwest D.C. early Monday in a sudden burst of violence involving what residents described as dozens of gunshots.

D.C. police released video that shows a group of people running and ducking for cover as at least one person begins firing from a dark-colored vehicle as it drives past Tyler House, a 284-unit affordable housing complex at the corner of the busy intersection of New York Avenue and North Capitol Street. 

One victim was described as being in critical condition Monday afternoon while others have injuries that are not considered life-threatening, police said.

“We have mostly gunshot wounds, the legs, extremities, hands, some graze wounds,” Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said. 

The number of victims increased throughout the day, with seven victims initially reported and Chief Lanier announcing at a morning news conference that 11 people had been injured.

With 13 shot, the number of gunshot victims surpasses that of a 2010 drive-by shooting on South Capitol Street that was regarded as one of the worst mass shootings in the District in recent memory. Three teens were killed and six others were injured in a single attack.

Police as of Monday evening had made no arrests and did not know the motive for the shooting but were working to identify two dark-colored cars seen driving past the housing complex.

Surveillance video shows the cars drive down the one-way North Capitol Street access road around 2:10 a.m. Monday. As the first car passes, smoke is seen rising from the car’s window and a crowd gathered near the front entrance of Tyler House tries to flee inside the doorway or duck and run. Six of the victims were women and the youngest was a 17-year-old boy.

Police spent the morning collecting evidence from the scene, including several cars parked in front of Tyler House that were laden with bullet holes. Firefighters arrived on the scene late Monday morning to hose off the sidewalks, washing away a trail of blood that led from the front of the building around the block to New York Avenue.

Neighbors described being awakened from their sleep to the sound of dozens of gunshots.

“It was just crazy to hear all those damn shots,” said a resident of the neighboring Sibley Plaza Apartments who declined to give his name out of fear. “It sounded like somebody was going to war.”

Though he didn’t see the cars race past, from the balcony of his apartment the Sibley Plaza resident said he saw people run toward Tyler House from the direction of a nearby nightclub after he heard the shots. 

The shooting happened close to the time the neighboring club Fur was closing for the night. Police were investigating whether there was any connection between the shooting and the club.

Chief Lanier has typically shuttered any club found to be connected to a violent incident for 72 hours while an investigation is conducted by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. An ABRA spokesman confirmed Monday that the incident has not been relayed to the administration for any investigation.

Neighbors walking past the bloodstained sidewalks complained that the Tyler House and other surrounding housing units have been a magnet for violence for some time. 

“This strip has been in trouble, been a drug market for 20 years,” said 37-year-old Tony Warren, who lives nearby in Northeast.

In October, five people were shot near the same intersection on a Friday night. The prior weekend, two people were shot there. 

But signs of change are on the horizon all around the bustling intersection. A looming construction crane is being used to build a high-rise building across the street from the nearby D.C. Housing Authority building. Meanwhile Tyler House is scheduled for a $28 million renovation. 

In the meantime however, those who frequent the area take caution. 

“When I come through here, I just say ‘Hi’ and ‘Goodbye’ and move on,” said one man as he waited to catch a bus.


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