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Fear of gun violence permeates Southeast DC community following shootings

A half a dozen shootings in just 24 hours have one community asking for more to be done.

WASHINGTON — Southeast D.C. was the sight of several shootings in the past day. In all, six people were shot in 24 hours beginning Wednesday, including a pregnant woman. That woman is currently in the hospital, but three others are dead.

Police say there's no evidence any of the shootings were connected but said the weapons used included an AK-47 assault rifle and an M4 – the preferred weapons on the battlefield of Iraq and Afghanistan. In two incidents, police estimated at least 90 rounds were fired.

The violence has police begging the public for help.

"When you're targeting a specific person, whatever your motivation is for that, maybe you can kind of understand that," DC Police Commander John Haines said. "But where you're using assault rifles and shooting hundreds, hundreds of rounds -- not in one incident, but in multiple incidents at whoever is out there ... this is why we're pleading with the public. If you know people in possession of illegal firearms especially assault rifles please please please let us know.” 

But in those communities, many people we spoke with said they are numb. Others say the fear of getting caught in the crossfire is changing how people live their lives.  

“As you can see there are no kids outside, no kids. Why? Drive-by shootings. You gotta worry about that. Don’t nobody want their kids out here. I know I don’t. I don’t want my grandkids, my kids, I don’t want them out here and have to worry about hearing gunshots,” a man who asked to remain anonymous said. "People are scare to come out of their own house."

The clear consensus among neighbors we spoke to was that something more needs to be done.

Speaking on Thursday, Mayor Muriel Bowser talked about the city's approach to fighting crime, but was light on specifics.

"We are very focused, as you know, on making sure we have a two-pronged approach, or really a full-spectrum approach, that's focused on having the police officers that we need to be on patrol, but also engaging people that we know are likely to be involved in crime in more positive activities."

People we spoke to in Southeast D.C. had a lot of ideas. Some spoke about having more police in the community, while others talked about programs to get kids and teenagers involved and engaged.

The man we spoke to who requested anonymity suggested building a trade center to allow kids to pursue their passions.

As the city and the community grapples with solutions to the ongoing violence problem, police say they have made no arrests in any of these shooting cases, and all investigations are ongoing.

Anyone with information should contact the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099.

RELATED: DC violence leaves 6 shot in less than 24 hours

RELATED: Pregnant bystander expected to survive after being shot multiple times in Southeast DC

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