“Stop the violence. Stop killing one another.”
That’s the message Norman Williams is spreading throughout his southeast Washington neighborhood. Williams’ community is mourning the loss of family and friends from Tuesday’s shooting, which he believes may have started with the death of his son, 20-year-old Jordan Howe, on March 22.
Williams blames his son’s death on senseless violence, but he’s also pointing the finger somewhere else -- at local politicians. Other community members support his feelings. Some booed Mayor Adrian Fenty and other officials at a vigil Wednesday night because they believe there is a gap between the people who live in the community and local lawmakers.
While News4 was interviewing Williams, his local councilman showed up -- Ward 8 Council member Marion Barry.
Barry offered a handshake to the grieving father, but he received no takers.
“I’m not shaking your hand,” Williams said while staring Barry directly in the eye.
“Why?" Barry asked. "I talked to you on the phone.”
But Williams repeated firmly that would not shake Barry’s hand.
Williams was about to repeat it for a third time, but Barry threw his hands up to apologize, “I’m sorry.”
“No, you are definitely that,” Williams responded.
Fenty said he understands the frustration that erupted Wednesday night.
"What you've got to understand is that if nine people were killed and injured in your community, you'd be frustrated also," Fenty said Thursday morning on his weekly Connecting With the Mayor segment on News4.
Fenty said that when he arrived on the scene Wednesday night, he said one man was very upset with him and greeted him with some choice words.
"But then I talked to him, and explained to him that we were there to talk about the arrests ... and afterward he actually apologized and said, 'Listen, I'm sorry about the greeting I gave you. ... But I was just frustrated and upset,'" Fenty said. "And I've been in many situations like that as mayor and councilman. People should feel that they can express their frustration at the government because they want the government to do more in the community."