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Neighbors concerned for safety after deadly shooting at Northwest DC hotel

1 person died, 4 others were hospitalized. Area residents gathered Thursday to talk about the rise in crime in the neighborhood.

WASHINGTON — One person is dead and four others were hospitalized after a shooting at a Days Inn hotel in Northwest Thursday morning, according to DC Police. 

The incident happened on the 4400 block of Connecticut Avenue, police said. 

D.C. Police Commander Duncan Bedlion said some of the shooting victims were found at the scene and others took themselves to the hospital. Police said that one woman was taken to the hospital in grave condition, and she later died from her injuries Thursday morning.

Police believe there was a party inside the hotel room with multiple people in attendance, according to Bedlion, and at least one gun was recovered from the scene. 

In a joint conference with the mayor, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said dating back to July 2021, 73 calls were made to police from the Days Inn, ranging in nature from drugs to disorderly conduct, welfare checks and assaults. 

At this time, there is no lookout for a suspect or suspects. But, police are asking witnesses who may have any information to come forward. Chief Contee said he does not believe there is any immediate danger to the community, and said several of the individuals involved were cooperating with police. 

"The issue is availability of firearms to individuals and the way people are choosing to resolve conflict in community," Contee said when asked what MPD was doing to solve the increase in violent crime in D.C. "The issue goes beyond what MPD did or didn’t do. On the front end of things, how did we find ourselves in this space in the first place? Chief Contee will do everything that he can to put bad guys in jail, I assure you of that." 

The police activity shut down streets in both directions between southbound Connecticut Avenue and Brandywine and Tilden streets. Streets have since reopened.

The woman killed in the shooting was later identified as 20-year-old Dasha Cleary.

"She deserved better," said Contee in a press conference Friday.

The others injured have not yet been identified. The police chief said there are some "domestic overtones" to this shooting and most of the people investigators are speaking to are cooperative. 

WUSA9 reached out to Days Inn for comment, and they provided the following:

"The Management and Staff of the Days Inn have confirmed an incident took place at the hotel earlier this morning. The Metropolitan Police Department were contacted immediately and have begun their investigation. Since the incident is an active investigation, we are asking that any related questions be directed to the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Our thoughts and prayers are with those involved."

Thursday afternoon, Contee, Bedlion and D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh gathered outside of the Days Inn to speak to residents about the shooting. 

"I get the impression that people are not feeling safe these days," Cheh said.

Dozens of residents gathered to express concerns about the rise in crime in the Van Ness neighborhood and Mayor Muriel Bowser joined for the end of the briefing.

The chief acknowledged crime issues in the Van Ness neighborhood such as drug use in the public. He said MPD is committed to resolving issues in this area and did a survey of the area on Jan. 14. While law enforcement identified issues they can work on, Contee said some of the issues in the area go beyond law enforcement's authority. 

Cheh cited data from MPD and said crime is up in Police Service Area 203, the police area where the Days Inn hotel is located, by 23% overall, and 68% of the crimes are violent. 

The councilmember blamed the D.C. Department of Human Services and accused the department of mismanagement and placing residents who need other resources in this area to live, ultimately becoming a disturbance to other residents. 

"Even if the violence is contained to one room...it will spill out," she said. 

When Mayor Bowser arrived, a resident follow up on whether the Department of Human Services plays a role in the rise in crime because of its placement of individuals. Bowser said she didn't want to "conflate this issue with the incident today," adding that the shooting Thursday is a separate situation. However, she acknowledged the concerns people have about the Days Inn and said city officials are working to address these concerns and help the facility operate appropriately.

Contee said he would like to see more consequences for people who "do bad things in [D.C.] neighborhoods"—including juveniles—and he'd like to see people in the community have a say in what accountability would look like.

The chief said some young people are in need of services, but others need something "more stringent." 

"They may need to go sit down somewhere for a while," Contee said. 

This shooting is still under investigation. Anyone with information should call 202-727-9099 or text the department's tip line at 50411.

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