Man Fires Gunshots From D.C. Playground Full of Kids; No One Hurt

Gunshots rang out at a D.C. playground full of children Tuesday morning, sending parents running for cover and scooping up children along the way.

No one was hurt, but police are still looking for the man who started shooting in broad daylight in Columbia Heights.

"This is supposed to be our fun, happy space, not somewhere where you're running, shielding children from bullets," said a mom who was at the playground with her 1-year-old and her 3-year-old. She has asked not to be identified, but said her hands were still shaking hours later.

The shots rang out just before noon at the newly remodeled playground at the Columbia Heights Community Center in the 1400 block of Girard Street NW. The park was full of people, many of them young children participating in summer camps.

Witnesses said a young men ran through the playground with a gun in his hand. Then, they said, he stood just inside the rear gate and began firing from the playground at some men in the alley.

"And my three-year-old was just among the group," said the mom who has asked not to be identified. "And I for sure looked for her first, and grabbed her little baby arm, and in the process I think I even knocked another kid over, which I promptly slung on my other hip. I had children hanging from me as I ran."

She said a group of small children huddled behind an outbuilding to shield themselves.


Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information

Apartment buildings catch fire in Southeast DC

Rail services slowly return to normal after Harpers Ferry Bridge fire

"So imagine your 4-year-old huddled behind an outbuilding for 10 minutes, waiting for a man with a gun to go away," she said.

The community center was closed for the rest of the day Tuesday.

D.C. police are investigating, said John Stokes, deputy director of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation.

Residents can expect to see extra police patrols in the area Wednesday.

Contact Us