WASHINGTON (AP) — Police said two people were killed and three others injured Wednesday in a shooting in front of a senior citizens center and near several schools in the nation’s capital.
The Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday’s shooting happened in the Truxton Circle neighborhood of Washington in front of a residence for senior citizens and near several high schools.
The shooting happened just before 1 p.m. when a black SUV pulled up in front of the senior residence and two men hopped out and opened fire, Executive Assistant Police Chief Ashan Benedict said. The men fired at least seven shots before returning to their vehicle and driving away.
A total of five men were shot. Two died at the scene and three others were taken to area hospitals and were being treated Wednesday afternoon for their injuries.
Benedict said police were still trying to collect evidence at the scene and working to identify a definitive motive, but he said the area is known to officers as “an open-air drug market.”
Officers routinely make arrests there for the sale of narcotics, and investigators believe the shooting was related to those drug sales, he said.
“This is an ongoing problem,” Benedict said.
The shootings, which took place about one block from a school, continue a violent trend for the nation’s capital. Homicides have risen for four years straight; the 2021 murder count of 227 was the highest since 2003, and the city is on pace to exceed that this year. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who is seeking reelection for a third term this fall, spent much of the Democratic primary race fending off charges that she was mishandling the violent crime situation.
“We need to get these people off the street. We need the criminal justice system to be a part of that,” Benedict said. “We can always be better.”