WASHINGTON — According to DC Police records, there have been 160 homicides in the District so far this year, putting 2020 on pace to be among the deadliest years of the past decade.
Larry Calhoun, the founder of Twitter feed RealTimeNews10, which he runs by donation to cover crime in the city 24/7, is using his platform to demand lawmakers do more to stop the deadly violence.
“That was my challenge to the city leaders this morning is… what is your plan?” Calhoun asked.
The 160th homicide happened just after 3 a.m. Friday morning, when police responded to a shooting in Southeast.
DC Police responded to a call of multiple shots fired in the 300 block of 37th St SE at 3:19 a.m. By the time police arrived, officers said they found 23-year-old Cyhneil Smith in her car with several gunshot wounds and no signs of life.
In 2018, Smith was profiled in a Washington Post story about her struggles to balance vocational school and single motherhood. Her death comes after six homicides last weekend, including 31-year-old Noelle Smith.
"This year I’ve seen more women shot and killed than I’ve ever seen, and that’s very troubling," Calhoun said.
For Calhoun, the issue of gun violence turned personal when he was shot in the arm on July 16. He was caught in the crossfire of a shooting while driving to work in Prince George’s County. His case remains unsolved.
“A single shot rang out and came through my driver’s window," he said. "Struck me in the left arm, shattered my elbow and tore some tendons off the bone."
But for Calhoun, a witness to many of this year’s crime scenes, it’s the tragic loss of youth that hurts him most.
“We’re losing great minds, people who could be doing positive things in the community," he said. "We’re losing our kids.”
Police have not arrested anyone for Smith's murder yet, and a $25,000 reward for information that can help solve the case is being offered.
A candlelight vigil for Noelle Smith is planned for Saturday at Taft Memorial Park at 7 p.m.