Bystander Shot in Head During Gunfire in Northwest DC

A man is in critical condition after a shooting on New Year's Day in Northwest D.C., and police say the initial investigation shows he was an innocent bystander.

The shooting occurred Tuesday at 1st and Kennedy streets NW. Officers responded about 12:20 p.m.

"It appears that the victim in this case may have been an unintended target who was visiting one of the local establishments here," police chief Peter Newsham said.

There are a number of businesses in the area, including a barbershop and a laundromat. 

A witness who asked not to appear on camera told News4 the man was headed to lunch at a restaurant when gunfire rang out.

According to the preliminary investigation, two groups of men got into a dispute and someone pulled out a gun. 

The man shot is believed to have not been involved in the conflict. He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, with a gunshot wound to the head. Police did not release his name. 

“I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that this happens frequently here in our city, but it does illustrate how dangerous it is to use a firearm in such a small city,” Newsham said.

As Mayor Muriel Bowser was sworn in for her second term Wednesday, she reflected on the innocent victims of D.C.’s spike in murders, like 10-year-old Makiyah Wilson, killed in a hail of gunfire as she went to buy ice cream, and Wendy Martinez, who was stabbed to death as she was out for an evening run.

“One of the worst calls that you can get as mayor is when someone dies on our streets — even worse when that person is an innocent child, like Makiyah, who should be doing things that little girls do, or Wendy who should be spending time with her new husband,” Bowser said.

Detectives are speaking with witnesses and reviewing surveillance camera footage. No one was immediately arrested. 

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call police. Here's how you can do so

The number of homicides rose 38 percent from 2017 to 2018, with 116 victims in 2017 and 160 victims in 2018, Metropolitan Police Department data shows.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

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