The month of September is stacking up to be the bloodiest month of the year, with 22 homicides reported through Sept. 21. The killings included the deaths of a dozen people at the Navy Yard at the hands of a sniper. Others include the killing of a man who died a month after he allegedly intervened in violence taking place in an Adams Morgan bar where he was playing in a band and the fatal attack on a man who had bricks thrown at him on a street in the Brightwood neighborhood of Northwest.
Awele Olisameka, 24, of the popular Nigerian-born father of a 3-year-old son who had won a scholarship to attend Delaware State University, died Sept. 16, three days after he was chased and attacked by unknown assailants. Loved ones said he was beaten by bricks so badly that he lost consciousness from multiple skull fractures.
"He was an intelligent young adult with a promising future," said a Facebook memorial page, which features pictures of Olisameka with friends and family. There is a picture of Olisameka flashing peace signs sitting next to his friend Sam Okunubi, a buddy since his Del State Days. There's another of him wearing traditional Nigerian garb standing next to a young woman. A third shows him posing with a group of friends at school, each of who has gone on to a successful career.
Awele was a great friend,” Okunubi said. “[After] I met him at Delaware State I took him in as a younger brother. He was the kind of person who would always stand up for his friends. A friend with so much potential is gone forever in such a tragic way.”
The month's violence started with a 23-year-old man being fatally shot on the1300 block of Columbia Road, NW. About midnight on Sept. 1, officers from the Third District responded to the report of a shooting. When they arrived on the scene, they found an adult male suffering from apparent gunshot wounds and a juvenile male suffering from a gunshot wound. Both were transported to a local hospital by D.C. emergency personnel. The victim, identified as Antonio Jerome Williams of Northwest, was pronounced dead. The juvenile victim was in stable condition.
The last homicide, on Sept. 21, involved a 58-year-old man who suffered from multiple stab wounds after an incident in the 5300 block of Georgia Ave, NW. Sept. 21 was the latest date for which police provided details.
On Sept. 16, 12 people were fatally shot to death at the D.C. Navy Yard. Three people were also injured, including D.C. Police Officer Scott Williams. It was the worst such attack in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty children and six adults were slain by gunman Adam Lanza, who later committed suicide.
The alleged killer in the Navy Yard killings, Aaron Alexis, 34, a government contractor and former U.S. Navy petty officer, was shot by police at the scene.
As of Sept. 24, 82 homicides had been reported in the District, according to D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump. That number compares to 67 at the same time last year.
“In 2012, the District of Columbia had 88 homicides, the lowest number on record since 1961,” Crump said. “Additionally, the Metropolitan Police Department’s case-closure rate for homicides was 82 percent, which was well above the national average.”
Crump said officials focused on gangs and guns and invested in crime-fighting technology to impact violent crime and improve the closure rate.
“We have also developed trusting relationships with our communities, and we are getting more information from the community,” she said. “Any time there is an increase in violent crime, we develop strategies and make adjustments to address it. Violen[ce] is currently down.”
However, the closure rate is also down, she said.
“As of Tuesday, September 24, 2013, the homicide closure rate is 56 percent,” she said.
“Of the 82 homicides committed this year, 26 are closed. It should be noted that when the FBI investigation of the Navy Yard is complete, the closure rate will increase.”