Multiple Reports of Shots Fired in Petworth around Noon

One reader writes:

“Around 11:50 today I heard about seven or so shots near Varnum and 8th NW, some squealing tires, and then saw a guy running in the alley behind Varnum toward Grant Circle.

I called 911 right as I saw the car go by. The Police now have Varnum between 9th and 8th blocked off, as well as that block’s alley on the north side of Varnum. I just spoke with one of the officers who said they had a really good description of several individuals and had actually just had a report of more shots fired “a few blocks north”, maybe Buchanan area.

Crazy, right in the middle of the day. I just saw a group of kids in a daycare class walk by not minutes before the shots were fired. Unbelievable.”


“At 11:56 am MPD units responded for sounds of gunshot in the 800 block of Varnum Street, Northwest. During the canvass several shell casings and a handgun were recovered.”

28 Comment

  • Wow, is it just me, or has there been a spike in shootings over the last few months?

  • I live right there. I’ve mentioned here how I’m getting worried about the amount of violence that’s cropped up the past year or so but apparently it’s fine since it “seems” only drug related. NO chance a stray bullet ends up in me or my family. It’s never a problem until it is.

    • This is the most frustrating part for me as well. I try to be very involved with the community and attend MPD meetings, etc…. and I often get “the crimes are targeted”, as if that makes it better, or less dangerous to the rest of the neighborhood. I have a neighbor who had a bullet through his dining room window, thankfully in the middle of the night, but just a few hours earlier and the family would have been in that room. But like you said, it’s not a problem until it is, which is unacceptable.

  • So the gunman is basically running around the elementary school? Fantastic.

  • There is a station 2 blocks from the incident, I live 1 block from the station and I swear I’ve never seen a cop in the neighborhood. In a car driving by sure, but never seen any walking around, introducing themselves to neighbors ect.

  • Sadly there have been numerous day time shootings in the area recently:
    3/30 2:45pm homicide at 13th and Van Buren
    4/5 2:17pm shots fired 4th and Taylor
    4/8 5:00 pm shots fired 300 block Upshur
    4/9 11:39am shooting around 4600 New Hampshire
    4/10 2:14pm shots fired at 5th and Buchanan
    4/10 2:15pm shots fired at 4600 Buchanan

    For a map of all of these and other shootings I have a google map at

    • HaileUnlikely

      The first one on the list was at 2:45 AM, not 2:45 PM, and 13th & Van Buren is over 2 full miles from the general vicinity of the others. Point taken, though.

      • Thanks for catching that. User error on my part. The map covers Ward 4, not just Petworth, though some people have asked me to add neighboring Ward 1 incidents which is why a few are south on Georgia or around Columbia Heights.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Thank you for making the effort to put this together, it’s really excellent to have. That one just jumped out at me because I live close enough to the location that I heard the shot.

    • Mental note to self – buy future home in Crestwood

      • Plus I think you get access to good schools west of the park if you live there thanks to Mayor Bowser adjusting the boundaries.

        • For the next 7 years you do–Crestwood residents have long had Deal/Wilson rights. Bowser granted them 7 more years. So if you have a kid in K or above now, they’re grandfathered into that track for middle/high school. If you have a child younger than that right now, they’ll go to the new Ward 4 Middle School and Roosevelt.

    • Thanks for the map, Jonah. It’s really interesting (and outrageous). I was thinking of doing something similar, but yours is better…. I think that the below incident near the metro might be missing:


      • Thanks. Google Maps was putting it at 3700 New Hampshire and displaying it at Kennedy and NH. I moved it down to the general vicinity of the 3700 block.

  • Don’t worry, folks. Our likely next councilmember has a plan… to have the police release a plan.

    Brandon Todd
    Chief Lanier & the Ward 4 Commander need to release a plan to address the wave of violence that has beset Ward 4 and Petworth, in particular. It should be a responsive plan that outlines deployment, number of officers available, and community engagement.

    • OR we could elect a councilmember who actually cares enough to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, and not just assume that Brandon Todd is going to win! (although, I unfortunately agree that it does seem pretty likely, and his comments on this topic to not ease my discomfort)

    • I haven’t done enough research on this yet, but who is the top competitor (if there is one) to Todd? It looks like he gave each of those questions about 10 seconds of contemplation before deciding to answer with the most boilerplate responses possible.

      • I don’t know that there is a top competitor for him. I personally like Dwayne Toliver and Leon Andrews. I personally think that Todd won’t do much for the community, and we need someone who is involved in order to continue to make improvements. There are much better qualified candidates than Todd who have many more years of experience writing legislation and working in gov’t. and advocating for the community (in my opinion)…

    • west_egg

      Taking a page right out of Bowser’s playbook — talk talk talk about taking action but never actually do anything.

      • Alas. 🙁

      • Does Brandon also have a side job with one of the major real estate developers?
        That’s really who these people represent.

      • Be sure to call Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and share your concerns. I have a feeling that she is “covering” Ward 4 for Bowser until a replacement is found.

        I am hopeful that Brianne Nadeau has a plan (or is working on a plan) to improve business, safety, and other quality of life issues. I’m afraid she might be a one trick pony – affordable housing – and while that might get one elected, it doesn’t move the ball forward.

        • Actually two of our At Large Council members have been rather responsive in light of Ward 4 having no one. CM Bonds attended the PSA 407 gun violence meeting in person and is holding a Public Safety Meet and Greet at the Swift condos on April 24 10-1130am to deal with this stuff. CM Grosso sent a very responsive staff member to the PSA meeting, and they will also be attending CM Bonds’ event. I would not hesitate to reach out to either of their offices.

      • I’m not counting on him for much, because he didn’t bother to surface and weigh in on these events happening in his own Petworth/Brightwood (as he claims to reside) backyard for MONTHS, but will proudly claim that he has knocked on every door in Ward 4 to campaign for our votes.

        He even SOUNDS like Bowser when he speaks at debates, placing emphasis on the filler words/phrases:

        “I’m so glad you asked me that question….blah…blah..”
        “We want to be SURE….blah…blah…”…
        “We will have GREAT…blah…blah…”

  • Unfortunately, two rap lyrics come to mind(paraphrasing): from 50cent: “…in the hood, summertime is the killing season. It’s hot out this b****, and that”s a good enough reason…”, and from Ludacris: “…if the streets get hungry, then the streets gonna’ eat…”

  • I hate to be critical of how the police do their job because I know it’s probably more nuanced than we think, but something has to be said for the amount of cruisers I see parked for hours with officers just staring at glowing screens. At the Rib Pit Lounge sidewalk area on 14th, all around Yes! Organic, all around the Safeway, etc… I see cruisers parked there for hours on end sometimes, at night especially, and you can tell the officers are just playing with their smartphones, staring at their computer screens, or otherwise not “policing.” I’m sorry but is this a more effective strategy than patrolling around, looking for criminal activity that might be afoot? My vote is no.

    At this point I’ll give the standard, “I’m appreciative for everything they do” response, not because I feel obligated, but because I am. But I see less and less officers driving around “investigating” and more and more officers parked.

    Can anyone more educated on police work explain why?

    • If you are really seeing one police car parked in the same spot for hours, you should report that to MPD. Maybe it’s a protective detail; maybe someone is goofing off. In any event, you should report it and let them sort it out.
      The response to repeated complaints about the lack of foot patrols has been that it is better to have officers in cars so they can respond to incidents quicker. This makes some sense. There is a limited amount of ground that an officer can cover on foot. I don’t know whether officers are “looking” for criminal activity when they are driving around. I suspect that it’s more like they may happen to come across some criminal activity, as opposed to actively searching for it.

Comments are closed.