WASHINGTON - A Woodley Park bakery owner tells FOX 5 she reached out to local leaders and the Smithsonian National Zoo to ask for security help, concerned for the violence that broke-out at Saturday's holiday ZooLights event. That violence included a double shooting and a fight at the "Fro-Zen-Yo" frozen yogurt shop just next door to the Connecticut Avenue bakery.
A Zoo spokesperson says fireworks were also illegally set-off inside the zoo, causing a panic.
The mayhem forced Zoo officials to close early on Saturday and hold an emergency conference call with D.C. police on Sunday. The Smithsonian National Zoo opened ZooLights right at 5 p.m. Sunday, but did so with an increased police presence.
The Smithsonian National Zoo will keep that increased presence until the holiday event ends on January 1st. Very soon, a Zoo spokesperson tells FOX 5 the zoo will also bring back entrance screeners where security will be checking bags with metal detecting wands. Guests will be asked to submit their backpacks, purses, coats and other belongings for security screening, before being allowed into the zoo.
"We opened with this great success and joy and something like last night is pretty devastating," said Baker-Masson, "Zoo lights is a family friendly event and we are not going to be deterred by a handful of really disruptive people. We are enhancing our security so people really feel safe. We want everybody to still come for the rest of the month …"
"Of course the zoo as its own security measures. But a lot of times people don't think about what happens when people aren't allowed into the zoo, where do they go? They go into businesses like ours," said Yael Krigman, who owns the bakery, "Baked By Yael," just across the street.
Krigman's bakery is also right next the "Fro-Zen-Yo," the frozen yogurt shop where a fight broke-out Saturday night.
"My staff was here and … they saw the commotion and fighting break out, so they immediately locked the doors and took care of the customers who were inside the store," said Krigman.
Krigman tells FOX 5 she reached out to the National Zoo, the Mayor's Office and her local ANC representative on Sunday morning to ask whether the neighborhood or businesses can also get increased security – and possibly some kind of alert. The bakery owner says she has a tentative Monday meeting with the National Zoo and city leaders.
DC Police say the shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. Saturday near Cathedral and Connecticut avenues, just steps from the zoo. Police found one victim at the scene and another near the Duke Ellington Memorial Bridge on Calvert Street nearby. Both victims are said to be boys and are expected to survive their injuries.
Baker-Masson says the loud burst of fireworks, which many zoo guests believed were gunshots, were heard maybe an hour before the double shooting.
Detectives are still investigating whether the two incidents were related.
The ZooLights, a D.C. holiday tradition, will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night through New Year's Eve.