New Legislation Marks S. Capitol St. Shootings Anniversary

Friends and family of the victims of last year's South Capitol Street multiple shooting gathered at the John A. Wilson Building on the anniversary of the shooting for the announcement of a youth mental health and juvenile justice initiative.

D.C. Councilman David Catania introduced the South Capital Street Tragedy Memorial Act, which would try to identify mental health problems in young people and tighten truancy laws, NBC Washington's Pat Collins reported.

The legislation would mandate behavioral health screening for students from Head Start through high school and provide mediators to help parents find mental health care for juveniles who need it. The legislation also would implement earlier truancy intervention and penalties for parents of truants.

Catania said the legislation is about collecting data and using it correctly.

"We have to make a decision whether or not we do nothing or we do something, and we know the consequences of doing nothing," Catania said.

On March 30, 2010, a group of mourners was gathered in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street SE after a friend's funeral when there was a barrage of gunfire from another group of young people driving by. Nine people were struck, and four teenagers were killed. A shooting earlier that evening was linked to the mass shooting.

"It was nothing like I've ever seen in my life," said Ra'Shanna Brown, who was hit twice and whose sister was killed. "It was just a massacre. It happened so fast I didn't know what was going on or what to think."

It was the culmination of a series of violence acts that began over a stolen bracelet, authorities said.

One of the men charged in the shooting, Nathaniel Simms, has pleaded guilty to his role in the shooting. Several other people charged in the shooting and a previous incident are scheduled to appear in court for a hearing in the case April 22.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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