D.C. Halloween Violence: Georgetown Shooting Sparks Youth Confrontations; 6 Shot Across City
WASHINGTON -- A shooting in Georgetown during Halloween festivities on Monday night sparked a series of fights that traveled through downtown, including an incident outside George Washington University Hospital where police deployed pepper spray inside a Metrorail station entrance. The Georgetown shooting was just one incident in a violent night in the nation's capital; in all at least six people were shot.
According to WJLA-TV/ABC7, a confrontation started between two groups of people at Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW then spilled eastward toward 28th Street NW, where "[a] witness says a man across the street started firing shots at the group and one victim fell to the ground."
The shooting occurred shortly before 11 p.m., and the victim's injuries, WJLA reports, are life threatening.
Georgetown has been known for years as a citywide gathering spot on Halloween night. Like previous years, police shut down streets in the congested neighborhood to accommodate crowds.
The shooting sparked a wave of young people who made their way on foot along Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Foggy-Bottom-GWU Metrorail station at 23rd and I streets NW.
Many of them were visibly disturbed -- some were weeping, others were yelling threats or calling for their friends. A few people ran, but most walked in loosely knit groups. Three young women told The Huffington Post they had witnessed the shooting in Georgetown, but none was willing to say who they thought might be responsible.
Within minutes, violence broke outside the Metrorail entrance, where an argument between two young women devolved into a street fight involving 20 to 30 people. Traffic was completely halted on 23rd Street, and one female eyewitness described the scene as "a gang war."
More than a dozen Metropolitan Police Department officers were dispatched to break up the fighting, which an officer described as "four little fights, which we kept from becoming one big fight."
At 11:15 p.m., a newly arrived group of officers armed with semi-automatic weapons entered the Foggy Bottom station.
"Oh shit," said a young man who spotted the guns. "Oh shit is right," an officer told him, before disappearing into the only working escalator well.
Asked later about what had occurred inside the underground rail stop, a D.C. police officer standing guard outside the station told HuffPost, "There was a guy with a gun in there, and we had to pepper spray the whole place."
The spray caused a mass exodus of people from the station, many of whom began walking east on I Street.
According to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel, a large group of disorderly juveniles returning from Georgetown entered the station and pepper spray was deployed. But Stessel said it was unclear whether Metro Transit Police or Metropolitan Police Department used it.
There were no arrests made at Foggy Bottom, but according to Stessel, there were a few related reports of disorderly conduct on trains heading from Foggy Bottom toward L'Enfant Plaza. Metro Transit Police remained at stations until the system closed overnight.
M Street NW remains closed in Georgetown as police investigate Monday night's shooting there.
According to the Washington Post, there were at least four other shooting incidents involving five other victims in the District on Monday night. Two occurred a few blocks away from each other in Petworth, another in Congress Heights, and one near the New York Avenue Metrorail station.