Overnight gunfire in D.C. leaves three dead
3 others injured; crimes being investigated as unrelated incidents
A spate of shootings Friday night and early Saturday in the District left three men dead and three others injured, outbursts of violence that police are investigating as separate and unrelated cases.
D.C. police said there were several other shootings overnight but are uncertain of the motives. The three fatal shootings happened in three quadrants over several hours.
Bryan Perkins, 18, of Northeast was killed about 9 p.m. Friday on Edgewood Street NE, in the Edgewood neighborhood. Just before 1 a.m., Wesley West, 25, of Southeast was shot on 13th Place SE in Congress Heights, and about 2 a.m., Charles Douglas, 33, of District Heights was killed on Riggs Street NW, about halfway
between Logan Circle and U Street NW.
Three other men were shot and wounded where Perkins was killed and were taken to a hospital. Police did not have updated information on their conditions Saturday afternoon.
The violent night came during an increase in the city’s homicides. As of the end of June, homicides were up 20 percent in the District compared with the same time period last year. About 30 people were killed in the District between May and the end of June.
The number of homicides is on track to surpass that of recent years. In 2014, 105 people were killed in the city. The 2013 count was similar — 104, which included the 12 victims of the Washington Navy Yard shootings. The District had a 40-year low in 2012, when 88 people were killed.
D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5) called the slew of shootings a result of senseless violence.
“The recent spike in crime in our city is unacceptable,” McDuffie said in a statement. “Let us come together as a community to stem the tide so we no longer have to wake up to news like this.”
Perkins, who lived in Edgewood, graduated from Eastern High School this year and had been on its football team. Friends and family said he was planning to attend college in the fall and hoped to start a fashion business, having launched a clothing line in high school.
“He cared about everyone. He was respectful, well-mannered, funny,” said Passion Perkins, a cousin. “Just happy, all around. Just happy.”
Kourtni Stewart, also one of Perkins’s cousins, described him as goofy but dedicated to the fashion industry. Stewart said he had created a pair of shoes in collaboration with Adidas, mixing pink, purple and green snakeskin and sporting gold stripes.
“He loved fashion,” Stewart said. “He loved to look good. ... He loved labels. Whatever was fly to him, that was his style.”
Perkins was with a friend outside his mother’s house, talking on the phone to his girlfriend. She called 911 when the connection dropped, Stewart said.
“You can’t even go outside and walk your dogs without looking behind your back,” Stewart said.
This was not the first time Perkins’s family has had to cope with violent tragedy close to home. His older brother, Dezmine, was fatally shot in 2010 a block from where Perkins was slain. Dezmine Perkins was 16.
“I wouldn’t even say they were at the wrong place at the wrong time — they weren’t,” Stewart said. “This is where they live; this is where their moms live.”
Stewart said that the Perkins brothers, as well as the three others shot in Edgewood, were not the type to be involved in violence. “That was the most unexpected thing ever,” Stewart said. “These are not street guys. They don’t sell drugs or get locked up. These are young boys that went to school, helped older people with their groceries and had manners.”
McDuffie said that too many families in the District have been enduring multiple tragedies but that the violent crimes are not raising the kind of alarms they should because of their increasing volume. “When you grow up in the District, you need to know that this kind of violence is not a normal part of life,” McDuffie said in an interview.
Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) said in a statement that Douglas was sitting in his car when he was shot on Riggs Street.
“We have worked too hard for too long to combat the terrible crime that once plagued our city,” Evans said.
The community where Douglas was shot had hosted a meeting July 9 to talk about crime. A similar meeting is scheduled for the night of July 30 at New Samaritan Baptist Church on Florida Avenue NE.
West, who was killed in Southeast, had at one point worked with the nonprofit group Peaceoholics to help curb violence in his neighborhood of Congress Park. In 2007, West, then 17, told The Washington Post that after running into trouble at Ballou Senior High School, he worked to straighten himself out and was speaking with teens about preventing neighborhood conflicts from turning violent.
Ron Moten, the co-founder of Peaceoholics, said he last saw West in 2011 when he checked in with the group.
“It seemed like he was going down the right direction,” Moten said. “He was working to better his life.”
“Wesley wasn’t about going out to hurt nobody, but it’s a culture,” Moten said.
According to Moten, West had recently been working in construction and had just become a father.
Family and friends of Douglas and West did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.