Recent DC homicides put spotlight on trouble police have with illegal dirt bikes

Image 1 of 3

Six people have been killed in the District this week and what is even more alarming is that police say two of the victims were killed by people driving dirt bikes.

Local reporter Charnice Milton was switching buses on Wednesday in Southeast D.C. when she was gunned down at a corner on Good Hope Road in Southeast on Wednesday. The suspect who shot the 27-year-old Ball State and Syracuse graduate escaped on a dirt bike.

Tamara Gliss, a 31-year-old mother, was sitting outside her apartment building in the Shaw neighborhood when she was shot and killed on Memorial Day. The suspect in this case was last seen on a dirt bike.

Apparently, these types of off-road bikes are being seen all across the city.

If you live or work in D.C., you may have seen gangs of dirt bikes flying down the streets doing wheelies or riding on the wrong side of the road. It is illegal to ride dirt bikes on any street or sidewalk in D.C. and residents have been complaining about them.

However, D.C. police are unable to stop this problem because of policy. Police officers are under orders not to stop them and to never pursue them. They are actually told to turn in a different direction.

And the bikers know the cops will not stop them.

"They are fully aware of it," said Officer Wendell Cunningham, vice chairman of the D.C. Police Union. "That's why they drive all over the District in large numbers of groups and you don't see any police officers pursuing them or trying to even conduct a traffic stop."

The dirt bikes have all the power. We are told they mock the police.

"The officers are frustrated because basically they come up alongside the police cars and actually kick the police cars," Cunningham said. "They actually kick the police cars just to taunt the police officers because they know the officers cannot pursue them."

And if the officer wanted to pursue, it is hard to catch them.

"Dirt bike is easier to get away from the police than a regular car," said Cunningham. "You can hop the sidewalk. You can do basically anything you want to in reference to a dirt bike. You can get into small spaces that a police car cannot pursue you."

After our story aired, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier's spokesman Lt. Sean Conboy emailed that "From previous experience, we know that police pursuing these riders only increases the risk of people getting seriously injured or killed."

He added that the Chief Lanier will have a new enforcement strategy soon that will intercept the dirt bikes while they are parked.

If you know where these illegal bikes are being stored or they have information on those riding them illegally, you can text anonymous information to 50411.