WASHINGTON — The protest against child gun violence ended with five gunshots.
At the doorstep of a Southwest police station, a dozen family members affected by gun violence gathered under lowering skies for their voices to be heard.
The demonstrators stressed with bullhorns and banners that they support the police. Defunding or cutting back services was not part of their agenda.
Rather, the protestors assembled near Nationals Park Tuesday evening asked for investigators to do more. Those who joined anti-violence organizer Shelia Wright and her nonprofit, the Wright Family Foundation, asked Metropolitan Police to direct more resources towards unsolved murders of children in the District.
Until, someone shot a child across the street.
Demonstrators took cover behind cars, stunned that during a peace protest, outside a major police station, bullets could be fired so brazenly.
“This is ridiculous! How can we be out here protesting, and somebody just got shot,” Wright shouted towards the MPD First District headquarters. “We know you hear what just happened out here.”
Officers arrived within a minute to the scene on First Street, Southwest. A boy was found shot on the tennis courts of the King-Greenleaf Recreation Center.
Police reported the victim was conscious and breathing, soon taken to a local hospital for treatment and evaluation.
Eyewitnesses reported at least two suspects fled the shooting on scooters, past the peace protest.
Wright organized a demonstration 11 days earlier in Southeast, in response to the shooting death of 11-year-old Davon McNeal. She said the gunfire ending her second protest would not deter her from planning a third, or dropping her cri de cœur to end callous killings.
“We're sitting here talking about Black Lives Matter, but how can Black lives matter, if we're killing each other?” Wright said.“It’s war out here. And we need to fight this, because it’s too much when it kills our kids.”