DC elementary school in middle of 'turf war'

MDP cruiser outside Hendley Elementary School on Chesapeake St. SE
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Tuesday’s rain actually made recess easier at Hendley Elementary School on Chesapeake Street in Southeast, D.C. (Ward 8) because the kids were inside. 

Last week, the playground was packed when teachers heard the sound of gunshots and rushed the students inside. 

The school was placed on lockdown for a half hour. The children remain safe but some say the nearby streets are not. 

In fact, just a half a block away three pairs of tennis shoes are strung up on power lines. Some say there are turf markers, other believe they are abandoned trophies. There are many meanings but all too often the shoes are backdrops to crime scenes.

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Police said the shooting students and staff heard happened there in the 4200 block of 6th Street, SE on October 30th at 1:30 p.m. 

According to the police report, eight shots were fired and two men were hit (they are now recovering). 

Seventh District Police Commander Regis Bryant said there is a turf war that has been fueling for some time, but escalated in the past three weeks resulting in some daytime shootings. 

Since then, police have stepped up foot patrols and added more officers assigned in and around the school.

The principal sent a letter home to parents stressing their safety is the upmost priority and that the school was not involved nor were any students injured.

While police say it has “calmed down a bit” no one is letting their guard down. The police commander and the police chief will be at Hendley Elementary on Thursday.  

While MPD stats indicate violent crime is down 24% citywide, a closer look at the crime map shows assaults with deadly weapons on the rise in the school’s neighborhood in the past two months.