News & Politics

These Are the Mass Shootings in Washington This Year

Photograph via iStock.

It’s tough to go a day scanning news from around the United States without hearing of at least one incident of large-scale gun violence. Barely a week after 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer killed ten people, including himself, at Umpqua Community College in rural Oregon, another campus is recovering from a deadly shooting spree. One person was killed and three more were wounded Thursday at Northern Arizona University when a physical fight between students escalated into gunplay.

Scenes like these are often referred to as “mass shootings,” but the FBI, which logs national crime data, does not actually have an official definition of the term. The bureau defines a mass murder as an incident in which at least four people are slain without any “cooling-off period,” and a few years ago, a couple of Reddit users adapted that label to track gun violence and developed the website Mass Shooting Tracker, which has logged every instance of gun-violence with at least four victims on US soil since the beginning of 2013.

While overall violent crime is down in DC in 2015, the number of homicides is up sharply, with 120 so far compared to 83 at this point in 2014. Officials have offered several possible culprits for the murder spike, but one DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier has mentioned is a rise in the number of repeat gun offenders.

Of the 298 incidents Mass Shooting Tracker has listed for 2015, five have been in the Washington area—three in the District, and two in Prince George’s County. Here are the details of each:

May 12: One dead, four wounded

Southeast DC resident Reginald Brown III, 18, was killed and four others were left with non-life-threatening injuries when they were shot while they were standing outside a home in Capitol Heights. Prince George’s County Police have not identified a suspect and are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

May 31: One dead, three wounded

Prince George’s Police responded to a gunfight in Springdale’s Ardmore Park on a Sunday afternoon that left one combatant dead and another wounded, plus two others, including a bystander, WTOP reported at the time. Jeramey L. Williams was pronounced dead while Alonzo D. Lloyd was treated for his injuries then arrested and charged in Williams’s death. Lloyd is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge, per Maryland court records.

July 4: One dead, three wounded

Four people were shot in what DC police describe as late-night gunfight in Southeast DC on the July 4 holiday. The melee left 23-year-old Dwayne Gene Dillard dead. Police later arrested Jonathon Taylor, Harry Herbert, and Shakim Lyons, who was wounded in the incident, and charged them with second-degree murder. The Washington Post reported police recovered 52 bullet casings from a gunfight that took place on a crowded street.

July 17: One dead, three wounded

Eighteen-year-old Bryan Perkins was killed and three others were wounded in a Friday-night shooting. No one has been charged yet, but WRC reported at the time that police believe the shooting might have erupted from a disagreement over a dice game.

September 7: Five wounded

Labor Day evening turned violent in Congress Heights when five people were shot. While none of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries, the incident compounded a bloody holiday, with a shooting in Southwest DC leaving 28-year-old Jarrell Hall dead and another man wounded. Hall’s slaying brought the District’s homicide count for the year to 109, surpassing the 108 recorded in all of 2014.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.