Overnight gun­fire in D.C. leaves three dead

3 oth­ers in­jured; crimes be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as un­re­lated in­ci­dents

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - BY CHRIS­TINE AYALA, RACHEL PREMACK AND YOLANDA MARTINEZ

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.

Bryan Perkins

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