Police hold emergency community meeting following shootings in DC neighborhood

D.C. police held an emergency meeting with the community Thursday night following a quadruple shooting that occurred the day before in Northwest D.C.

Police are asking for the public's help in finding the gunman as well as solutions to prevent this violence from happening again.

By all accounts, the consensus here among those attending this meeting held at the Fifth District police station was that more social services are needed. However, what was lacking in the search for solutions to stop the violence were specifics.

Residents said once upon a time, if a crime like this happened, it would have been solved by now because the relationship between police and the community was much stronger.

"You've got to build the relationship," said ANC commissioner Joyce Robinson-Paul. "I know that new people and some of the old people want to lock them up and throw away the key. You lock them up and throw away the key, they are coming back out. It may be five years and they are tougher and tougher and tougher. You need to engage our youth in a positive way."

Robinson-Paul was just one of dozens of concerned residents who came out to this emergency meeting. Police, residents and community leaders were all frustrated by Wednesday's quadruple shooting because they said similar crimes have happened in the same location several times before.

It was clear at the meeting that residents seem to be satisfied with the number of police officers in the area. However, many said Wednesday's violence is a culmination of problems that have been ignored over the years, including drug-related violence, abandoned recreation centers and unemployment.

"We're trying to look at solutions because it's brazen," said D.C. Police Commander William Fitzgerald. "This is the third daylight shooting we have had in the last five weeks. We have had more in daytime when the sun is out than we had in nighttime. For me, it's just backwards in my head. It shows you the brazenness out there, the mentality that is out there and that is the challenge we face."

Police are still searching for the gunman who shot a man and three other bystanders outside of the Big Ben liquor store on New York Avenue and North Capitol Street in Northwest just after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Noticeably absence from Thursday night's meeting was D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.