Gina Cook

2 Teens Shot Near National Zoo During ZooLights Festivities

Real shots rang out after fireworks sparked false reports of gunfire

Two teenagers were shot near the Smithsonian National Zoo in Northwest D.C. Saturday night as hundreds of people were in the area for ZooLights, authorities say.

Officers responded to the shooting at Cathedral Avenue and Connecticut Avenue NW about 8:30 p.m., police said. D.C. police, Secret Service officers, U.S. Park Police and Metro Transit Police were already in the area trying to disperse large crowds that were causing a disruption at the zoo, police said.

Authorities found a teen seriously injured with multiple gunshot wounds, police and fire officials said. He was conscious and breathing as medics took him to a hospital.

Shortly after responding to the shooting, a second teenage boy was found several blocks away at Calvert Avenue and Biltmore Street NW on the Adams Morgan side of the Calvert Street bridge, police said. His injuries are not life-threatening.

The National Zoo closed early after several incidents involving groups of teens in the park, the zoo said. About 7:30 p.m., a group of teens shot off fireworks at the zoo, which some visitors mistook for gunshots, police said.

A spokesperson for the National Zoo told News4 on Sunday that the zoo increased its security staffing and D.C. police have put more officers outside along Connecticut Ave.

Zoo security will implement screening, including bag checks and "wanding" on nights they expect larger crowds, the spokesperson said.

Authorities met with zoo leaders Sunday to discuss security efforts, the spokesperson said.

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Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for updates to this developing story.

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