On Wednesday morning at around 9:45 a.m., residents of Hill East called Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to report that they had seen two youths firing handguns at one another in the rear of the Kennedy Row Apartments on the 1700 block of East Capitol Street SE, near Eastern Senior High School (SHS).
There were no reported injuries, but the police report notes that a car was damaged in the passenger side rear panel.
MPD units were already in the area and quickly established a crime scene of shell casings and other physical evidence. A number of students at Eastern were detained to determine who may have been present during the discharge of weapons.
An adult arriving for unrelated business at approximately ten in the morning said that the school was placed on lockdown as he approached the building, and that he and students outside at that time were not permitted to enter. He waited fifteen minutes before deciding to return later.
A representative of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) said that the schools were briefly placed on lockdown. A letter sent to parents from Eastern Principal Sah Brown said that after the admins there was outfield of the reports, it “immediately went into “lockdown” status, meaning all exterior doors were locked, and entry into the building was not permitted.”
MPD cleared the school to resume normal activity within half an hour, Brown said. “While there was never an immediate threat to our school, we approach even the possibility of danger with extreme caution,” the letter added. “The safety of our students is paramount at all times.”
MPD said there were no injuries reported. “There were shell casings found on the scene, and information gathered thus far suggests two groups of individuals began firing at each other,” said Director of MPD Communications Dustin Sternbeck, adding that witnesses described the subjects as young black males between 14 and 18 years of age.
“No motive has been determined at this point,” he added.
The lockdown took place early in the school day at Eastern. Later that the same day a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida opened fire, killing up to seventeen people.
Brown’s letter to Eastern parents about the lockdown reaffirmed that “The safety of our students is paramount at all times.”
The First District Detective office is currently investigating the incident. If anyone has any information, please call the First District Detective’s Office at 202-299-2025 or the MPD Command Information Center at 202-727-9099.
This piece has been updated.