WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The FBI is launching a new initiative to help drive down violent crime in the District, targeting repeat offenders arrested with guns.
The initiative has the support of D.C. police, prosecutors, and the Mayor’s office.
The bureau say agents in the Washington Field Office will be reassigned to help drive down violent crime in the city, taking dozens of cases to federal court where prosecutions are swift.
Marcell Ellis, 19, is among these cases.
Ellis was arrested for sticking a pistol in the face of a man he allegedly carjacked, and then leading officers on a wild chase through the city.
They say he struck a pedestrian along the way, before crashing in Southeast.
The crime drew the attention of prosecutors.
When police looked at Ellis’ record – which included prior convictions for carjacking and assault on a police officer – prosecutors decided to move the case to federal court.
“We have made the decision that one thing that we want to try is greater collaboration between our local law enforcement partners--Metropolitan Police Department and our federal law enforcement partners so that we can all work together and share intelligence and share information and connect the dots,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu.
Liu added, "I think it is just more targeted and sort of more purposeful and has grown out of the discussions that all of us have been having as we watched some of the statistics as they came in starting last summer or so.”
D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham has said easy access to firearms and repeat violent offenders has had a huge impact on the rise in crime – armed carjackings have been particularly concerning.
In January, Christopher Lisi was visiting D.C. from New Jersey when he was carjacked at gunpoint outside a store on Capitol Hill.
The gunman forced the victim to drive around the city for 20 minutes before the gunman jumped out.
Hours later, police arrested Trevonta Barnes and prosecutors took the case to federal court.
Nancy McNamara heads the FBI’s Washington field office.
"We are not establishing a task force with this initiative. Our goal is to provide resources both personnel and intelligence resources and technical resources that the bureau can leverage to not only address the crime problem but using the intelligence build cases that have an enterprise,” McNamara said.
With this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s office expects to double the number of repeat offender gun cases prosecuted in federal court.
On Wednesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser will meet with the U.S. Attorney and then hold a press conference on the initiative.