As Murders Increase, D.C. Cops Work To End Gun Violence

Same guns being used in multiple crimes

Every 13 hours in the District, someone fires a gun. At crime scenes last year, police recovered 4,963 shell casings. These shell casings represent more than just pieces of metal.

Karen Wiggins leads D.C. Police's gun unit. They track the gunplay in the streets of Washington. They test fire guns and analyze those all-important shell casings, the tell-tale clues guns leave behind.

"The markings on them, yes, they're unique and individual to a particular firearm," Wiggins said.

One gun police are tracking is a specific 9 millimeter that has been used in two murders, one attempted murder, six assaults and one destruction of property.

Ten crimes. Same gun.  And it's still on the streets.

In fact, guns are often used in more than one crime. In the District last year, it happened 281 times.

"That means, for me, that the firearm has been floating, whatever the underground network is, so I don't know if it's passing from one person to another or it's one person who may be a broker, who's renting it out to people," Wiggins said.

The Consequences

"The only way that we're going to see him now is through bars," said Wilhelmina Durant, who was talking about her son, Gary. "That's not my dream for him."

She calls it Gary's chair, and no one is allowed to sit there. That's where Durant keeps her son's jersey, his shoes and his other favorite things.

Gary Durant was a star athlete at Spingarn High School. He was the quarterback on the football team, a top scorer in basketball.

But he was drawn to the fast life on the streets, and police say he was there the night during a gun fight at the 1100 block of 21st Street.  Eighty shots were fired and a young man died in the street.

Gary Durant was charged with murder.

"All because he wanted to be hanging out and carrying a gun, it's all gone, everything," his mother said. "Everything that he worked for."

Gary Durant is still sitting in D.C. jail. His murder trial is scheduled to begin next month.

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