WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced a major step in the city's effort to stop gun violence.
During a news conference Thursday morning, Bowser announced the appointment of Linda Harllee Harper to the position of Director of Gun Violence Prevention – the city's first-ever position focused on the issue.
Harper currently serves as the Senior Deputy Director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in the District; a cabinet-level agency serving youth impacted by the DC Juvenile Justice System.
Harper started her career with DC Public Schools (DCPS) as a Substance Abuse Prevention Intervention Coordinator at the former Oak Hill Youth Center. Harper has successfully led and supported reform efforts in the District’s Juvenile Justice System for more than 15 years.
Bowser said Harper will handle "strategic development review and implementation of our gun violence prevention efforts."
News of Harper's appointment comes just days after 15-year-old Jamarid Robinson was shot to death in Southeast D.C. The incident happened after 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the 2600 block of 12th Place, Southeast.
Officers from D.C.'s 7th District arrived and found Robinson shot multiple times.
Medical personnel brought him to a nearby hospital, where he later died, police said.
Robinson's death puts a focus on D.C. gun violence. It's a problem that some activists, like Clayton Rosenberg, tell WUSA9 is only amplified by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s so much idle time right now, and people are hurt," Rosenberg said. "And hurt people, hurt people."
Homicides in DC are up 8%, with 14 people killed so far this January compared to 13 this time in 2020. Violent crime overall is up 10%, which includes assault with a dangerous weapon - which is up 4% compared to 2020.
D.C. Police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this homicide.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at 202-727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by sending a text message to 50411.