Mayor Bowser speaks out about recent spike in shootings in the District
WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - A burst of violence over the long Memorial Day weekend left a 15-year-old boy dead and more than a dozen people wounded. Shootings and stabbings that came as the city kicked off its summer crime initiative.
On Friday, FOX 5's Paul Wagner sat down with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to discuss the crime in the city and what is being done about it.
Bowser says she has full confidence in D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham and was on the phone with him in the minutes after each of the mass shootings last weekend. She also says there is still a lot of work to do.
"It's heartbreaking, certainly, anytime we have that many incidents of gunfire in the city. In some ways, we were lucky that more of those situations didn't turn fatal, but it also demonstrates to us that we kind of have our focus and have the deployment of resources in the right areas, even in many of these cases our police were very close by, but it also demonstrates to us that we have a lot of work to do to get guns off our streets," said Bowser.
The mayor says she is in the neighborhoods every week listening to people and a lot of what she is doing is behind the scenes.
Of the 64 murders in the city so far this year, police say only 18 have been closed by arrest.
Bowser says it shows how complex some of these cases can be in retrieving video and cell phone records and getting the evidence necessary to make an arrest. She also said the community needs to be involved in assisting the police.
The mayor says she believes the illegal marijuana trade will dry up if her bill to make retail sales of pot legal in the city is passed by the city council.
As far as what's driving the crime? A few weeks ago, Bowser was briefed by detectives on every murder committed in the city so far this year at police headquarters.
"First of all, I took away from it that there is a senseless loss of life happening in neighborhoods around our city involving guns -- involving people who have been involved in cycles of violence and its really about nothing in a lot of cases that there are petty arguments that have lead to a loss of life," said Bowser.
Wagner asked Bowser if she feels safe walking around the city. She says she does.