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At around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, U.S. Secret Service officers responded to reports of a single gunshot at 34th and Massachusetts Avenue NW, near the U.S. Naval Observatory, the Secret Service said in a statement.
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said crime scene units were investigating the discharge of a firearm.
Crime scene units are investigating following overnight discharge of a firearm near the Naval Observatory. There is no indication that the building was targeted and no impact to any protectings. pic.twitter.com/WVurw9wsDn
— Anthony Guglielmi (@SecretSvcSpox) April 17, 2023
“No one was reported to be injured and there is currently no indication that this incident was directed towards any protectees or the Naval Observatory,” added Lt. Paul Mayhair, another Secret Service spokesman.
JUST IN ‼️ @SecretService has Crime Scene Investigators at the entrance to the U.S. Naval Observatory, home to @VP Kamala Harris. Unclear what type of incident led to the response, but rush hour traffic backing way up on Mass Ave at 9am on a Monday. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/LbShwo6SWA
— Eric Flack (@EricFlackTV) April 17, 2023
The incident happened as the nation’s capital grapples with a rise in crime in the district in recent years, including a surge in gun violence. As reported by Axios, there was a 40% spike in reported violent crimes involving a gun between 2017, when there were 1,573, and last year, when the number rose to 2,203.
Politicians and their staffers have become victims of crime in recent weeks. A House Democrat, Angie Craig of Minnesota, made headlines after being violently assaulted in an elevator at her apartment building in D.C. And a staffer to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was stabbed in a random attack.
The U.S. attorney in D.C. chose not to prosecute 67% of those arrested in the city last year, according to a Washington Post report. “Of course we are concerned,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contree III was quoted as saying. “We believe every person we arrest should be off the streets.”
Despite these concerns, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson appeared before the House Oversight Committee late last month and insisted “there is not a crime crisis in Washington, D.C.” He made these comments after President Joe Biden signed a measure several weeks ago that nixed an overhaul of the city’s criminal code that critics, including Republicans, decried as being too soft on crime.
The Secret Service said on Monday that roads around the intersection outside the Naval Observatory were temporarily closed due to the ongoing investigation.