WASHINGTON -- A crime wave is hitting a busy D.C. street near the popular H Street Corridor and neighbors have had enough.
The community gathered at the ANC 5D05 Public Safety meeting to discuss how to combat violent crime between the 1500 and 1800 blocks of Benning Road NE.
On Monday, Randall Francis, 20, was gunned down along that stretch of roadway. This year, that four block area has also been the setting to another fatal shooting, fatal stabbing and a quadruple shooting.
5D MPD Commander William Fitzgerald said local businesses in the area are not to blame for the crimes.
"I would love to point a finger at an individual store and say they're attracting this (violence)," he said. "The people have been there and will be there."
He said there has been infighting among locals in the area and that petty disputes have occasionally escalated into violence.
However, Fitzgerald said the biggest issue is the prevalence of illegal guns and that the people caught carrying them are getting light sentences.
"They dropped gun arrests from 0 to 4 years to 0 to 3 years and I'll tell you the truth," Fitzgerald said. "People when they get caught with a gun are getting more like zero than three."
ANC 5D05 commissioner Kathy said she agreed that repeat offenders are causing problems in the area.
"People that have gone to jail, they live in other places, they come back to the community and then they are selling $6 loose cigarettes. They're selling drugs," she said.
Henderson has floated a proposal that would allow police to clear the 1500 to 1800 blocks of Benning Road NE if people are engaging in illegal activity. She has pushed for Councilmember Charles Allen to introduce the legislation to the DC Council.
Allen's office has not responded to a request as to whether he support the plan.