WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, following a big week for D.C. public safety, FOX 5 learned a 10-year-old who had been hit by a stray bullet while riding in a car with her family on Mother’s Day, has succumbed to her injuries.
Arianna Davis died on the same day police confirmed 17-year-old D.C. Public Schools student Jefferson Perez was shot and killed on the school grounds at Roosevelt High School.
"That hurt me to my heart to hear that. I thought she really was going to make it. It was sad to hear that," said Chris Pitt, who says he was born and raised in D.C. but now lives in Virginia.
Pitt listened to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s responses on Thursday when FOX 5 asked the mayor whether anything could be done now.
The horrific shooting of an innocent 10-year-old and the shock of a student being targeted on school grounds coincidentally happened during a busy week surrounding public safety in the District.
On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced her "Safer, Stronger D.C. Legislation" to address public safety by closing different "gaps" she says exists in the system.
Some of the measures introduced include increasing penalties for illegal gun offenses and allowing judges to hold more offenders before trial.
Then on Tuesday, the District’s mayor and cabinet members along with the U.S. Attorney for D.C. went before a U.S. House oversight committee, where Congress members shined a light on issues with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. not prosecuting certain misdemeanor crimes.
FOX 5 asked the mayor about that Tuesday hearing and now two juvenile deaths: "Is there anything more your office can do to immediately address crime right now or is it just again, the federal government?"
"Oh, I don’t think that’s what you heard me say – ‘just the federal government,’" Mayor Bowser replied.
"Can you respond?"
"I did," the mayor said.
The next question from another reporter mentioned how the mayor has tried a lot of things, including putting more money toward violence interruption, but her efforts don’t seem to be working.
"Sam, this is what I know about crime and this is what I think we’re seeing across the country … Don’t always know what makes crime go up, but we do know when we address every part of the public safety spectrum from enforcement to opportunity to prevention, we drop numbers down," Mayor Bowser said. "Every part of the system has to be working urgently and willing to do some things differently."
Pitt didn’t agree that officials don’t always know what makes crimes go up.
He mentioned after-school youth, job core, and summer programs being available when he was a child.
"I don’t know how they can fix it, but I think they focus on the wrong programs, the wrong funding and the wrong communities," Pitt said.
"I get accosted every time I go down to the corner," said David Robling, regarding his frustration with crime where he lives in Adams Morgan.
"The arrogance of the young kids, I think a lot of, has to do with mental illness, the lack of housing … People are aggravated," he added, while still also saying he agrees with the mayor’s stances.
As of Thursday, all D.C. crime is up 27% and homicides are up 11% from this time last year.
The D.C. Police Union blames the D.C. Council for a lot of the city’s current crime.
The mayor’s office also pushed back on the council today for not taking up her bill sooner or as emergency legislation.
FOX 5 could not ask the city’s council members about this in-person Thursday and Zoom interview requests were not granted.
In a statement, Councilmember Brooke Pinto said, "I welcome the Mayor’s legislation and am glad she is focused on our urgent need to improve public safety. I am committed to expeditiously holding hearings on the Mayor’s legislation and am working with my team to determine the earliest possible date to do so that still conforms with notice requirements and Council policies. It is vitally important that we move forward with this legislation deliberately and hold public hearings to allow the public to share input."
Council Chair Phil Mendelson spoke Wednesday on the mayor’s crime bill, saying last he checked, the bill hadn’t even been introduced to the council by the mayor yet and that if it were that urgent, she should’ve introduced it sooner.
The mayor’s office shared online information showing the bill was sent to the D.C. Council on Tuesday and assigned to the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for June.
Council members said because of what’s in the mayor’s proposed legislation, they want to hold a public hearing on it and review the cost.
Council Chair Phil Mendelson said a public hearing and two votes would be impossible to get done in around six to eight weeks with the council also voting on the budget.