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Southeast DC school placed on lockdown after shooting unfolds behind campus

DCPS said students at Sousa Middle School, on Ely Place SE, had to be placed on lockdown for close to thirty minutes.

WASHINGTON — While Friday’s shooting in the Van Ness area of Upper Northwest D.C. grabbed headlines across the country, another shooting Tuesday in Southeast served as a reminder of what many other students in DC must deal with far too often.

Investigators say around 2:30 pm, a gunman opened fire on the 300 block of 37th Street Southeast in DC’s Fort Dupont neighborhood.

No one was injured in the incident, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. However, DC Public Schools said the Sousa Middle School, yards away, had to be placed on lockdown for 25 minutes at 2:20 pm.

The DCPS website shows more than 200 students attend the school. It typically lets students out for the day at 3:15 pm.

MPD is still on the lookout for suspects in connection to the case. The department could not answer when questioned as to how many bullets were fired during the shooting.

However, at least 87 evidence markers were apparent at the crime scene next to the school. Evidence markers are typically used by law enforcement to count bullet shell casings, among other things.

“Gun violence has been plaguing the Ward 7 community since before COVID-19,” said local ANC commissioner Racquel Codling. “The rise in shootings is alarming and traumatizing to our community. Our young people shouldn’t have their learning interrupted because of a shooting.”

Codling says the District needs to invest more in violence interruption programs and provide more opportunities that lead to employment and housing.

“Creating a safe community we can be proud to call home is a responsibility that must be shared between community, government, business, and the faith-based community,” Codling said.

MPD data shows seven violent crimes have taken place within 1,000 feet of Sousa Middle School this year. Only one other D.C. middle school has seen more violent crime, in a similar radius: Johnson Middle School, which is also east of the Anacostia River.

It is a very different story for students in Upper Northwest D.C. The two middle schools there, Deal and Hardy, have not experienced any nearby violent crime in 2022.

“Tammy”, a parent who lives near Sousa Middle School, happened upon Tuesday’s crime scene while walking her young daughter from another nearby school. She said she was disappointed her daughter had to be exposed to more violence.

“It’s upsetting and it’s right in front of my building, right in front of my window,” Tammy said.

However, she said she was not surprised by the crime given the prevalence of violence in the area. She said she is considering making a change.

“I’m over this city,” she said. “It’s time to go.”


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