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WASHINGTON, D.C. "Last Monday’s tragic shootings at the Navy Yard have weighed heavily on my mind and on my heart this week.
My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of those whose lives were so senselessly cut short last Monday, and I wish for the speedy and full recovery of those who were injured.
Among those injured was one of our own Metropolitan Police officers. Officer Scott Williams, who works with our K-9 unit, was one of the first to respond to the early 911 calls. He and his colleagues, without hesitating, went into the area to find the gunman – and Officer Williams ended up getting shot in both legs, shattering the bones in one.
His bravery is symbolic of countless other first responders from our Metropolitan Police Department, our Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the National Park Police, and other federal and local public-safety agencies who quickly and unselfishly answered the call to duty at the Navy Yard.
The first MPD officers were on the scene of the shootings a mere two minutes after 911 calls started, and they were inside Building 197 – where the main attack took place – within seven minutes. Despite being challenged by conditions inside the building, their speed and bravery undoubtedly kept this attack from becoming even more horrific than it already was. Our Fire & EMS workers did their jobs admirably under dangerous conditions, doing triage and tending to the injured while the shooter was still active.
Chief Lanier and MPD are already reviewing their response to this situation for lessons learned and improvements that can be made. And we are reviewing the overall response from all the District agencies that were involved.
We have a lot still to learn from this event. But one thing is abundantly clear to me after this latest mass shooting – just like it was clear to me after the Sandy Hook massacre, and the Aurora murders, and the Sikh temple shooting, and the terrible list that goes on and on.
We need sensible gun control on the federal level in this country, and we need it now.
One of Monday’s 12 innocent victims was a District resident whose family had already been tragically touched by gun violence. Arthur Daniels was 51 years old, and he was working in Building 197 on Monday when his life was snuffed out. His widow, Priscilla, told me how their 14-year-old son was also murdered just four years ago, shot in the back while running away from an assailant outside a Metro station.
Senseless gun violence is a sad fact of life in America and in the District – but it’s not a fact we have to live with forever. How many more tragedies – whether at a military installation just blocks from the Capitol last week, or in a movie theater in Colorado last year, or on the streets of our nation’s cities every day – how much more do we have to endure before we enact common-sense gun legislation?
I urge our members of Congress to get past their political paralysis before even more are lost to the plague of guns that afflicts our nation"
Photo by Andrew Bossi