By Chrisleen Herard,
Special to the AFRO
A teenage boy walked out of Dunbar High School’s doors for the last time on the afternoon of Sept. 26 only to be gunned down just moments after classes ended for the day.
“Around 4:10 p.m. today, school administration was alerted that a shooting occurred near the corner of New Jersey Avenue NW and P Street NW,” Dunbar High School Principal Nadine Smith wrote in a statement. “I am devastated to share that a Dunbar High School student was killed.”
Dunbar High School dismissed its students at 3:15 p.m. like any other day on Sept. 26. However, just roughly 30 minutes later, authorities from the Third District Metropolitan Police Department were called to the intersection of the 1400 block of New Jersey Avenue regarding a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found a teenage boy suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
“Today, we are at the scene of another senseless act of violence,” Acting Chief Pamela Smith said during a news conference. “We have too many guns on our streets and, as a community, we need to do everything we can to stop this violence from plaguing our city.”
During the preliminary investigation, homicide detectives learned that the victim was speaking with a group of individuals when, at some point during the conversation, one member of the group pulled out a firearm and let off multiple rounds.
Authorities remain unsure of the nature of the conversation and are on the lookout for two suspects in connection with the shooting: The first wore a black hoodie and jeans and the second wore a gray hoodie and black and red shoes. Both were last seen heading eastbound in the 300 block of P St. NW.
Dunbar High School is working with MPD, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the D.C. Public Schools Mental Health Student Supports Division to provide students with support and ensure their safety.
“This loss will surely raise many emotions, concerns, and questions from our community, especially from our students, and we want to support everyone through this time,” Smith wrote.
The student’s death would have marked D.C.’s 200th homicide this year, however, it was later revealed to potentially be the 208th or 209th after the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner concluded that eight undetermined deaths were homicides, according to Chief Smith.
It has been over two decades since the District surpassed 200 homicides before October, the last time being Aug. 1997. The homicide rate has since been on a steady decline until numbers began exceeding 200 again in 2021. The rate has continued to rise and is now up by 28 percent from last year.
“Let me be clear. The MPD is committed to seeking justice on behalf of each of these victims and bringing closure to their loved ones,” Chief Smith said. “Each one of these homicide victims is a member of our community. They are more than just numbers. Each one is someone’s family member that was taken too soon,”
“Our community is our most powerful tool in solving crimes. We cannot do this alone.”