State Watch

Organizer of DC party where 22 people were shot may face charges

The organizer of a Washington, D.C., block party where 22 people were shot and one killed may face charges, the city’s police chief said Monday.

Police Chief Peter Newsham said during a press conference that he thinks the party organizer should be held accountable for violating Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) order forbidding more than 50 people from gathering.

“I think that there needs to be responsibility for whoever hosted an event of this size without any consideration of the public health emergency that we have going on,” he said. “So that is something we are going to thoroughly investigate and see if somebody can be charged.”

The gathering of hundreds was interrupted when at least four shooters fired more than 100 rounds at a crowd, hitting 22 people. Christopher Brown, 17, was pronounced dead at a hospital, Newsham said. Brown was the father of an infant child, he said.

An off-duty officer was also shot in the neck, and although her condition was “improved,” the police chief said she wasn’t “out of the woods yet.”

Newsham said Brown was the only minor shot. Another victim was 19, 16 victims were between 20 and 29 years old and four were over 30. Twelve women and nine men were shot.  He said he is “convinced” an attendee captured video or photos of the shooters and called on them to come forward.

D.C. parties in the streets require permits, which Newsham said the organizer did not obtain. The police chief said he is “very concerned” that the gathering was able to occur without law enforcement preventing it. Officers were on scene but did not have enough of a presence to break up the crowd, he said.

During the press conference, Bowser noted that she was “surprised” press coverage has revolved around “mass gatherings and not about people shooting guns.”

“This gathering could have happened at somebody’s house, and if three people or four people decide to shoot guns, you still end up with 20 people shot,” she said.

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus restrictions mass gatherings Mass shooting Muriel Bowser Pandemic Peter Newsham Shooting Social distancing Washington D.C.

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