As it continues to grapple with a sharp rise in crime in the nation‘s capital, Washington, D.C. was rocked overnight by a single gunshot near the Vice President‘s residence.
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 residence of Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff.
Speaking to reporters, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that crime scene units were investigating the discharge of a firearm, but that there was “no indication that this incident was directed toward any protectees or the Naval Observatory.”
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,” tacked on Lt. Paul Mayhair, a different spokesman for the Secret Service.
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 follows a recent wave of crime in the district, including 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, according to Axios.
In recent weeks, politicians and their staffers have become unfortunate victims of crime in the city, including a House Democrat from Minnesota who was violently assaulted in an elevator at her apartment building and a staffer to Sen. Rand Paul (R–KY) who was stabbed in a random attack.
Democrats have responded to the crime wave by pushing for criminal justice reform, with President Joe Biden signing 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.
However, 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.”
The Secret Service said on Monday that roads around the intersection outside the Naval Observatory were temporarily closed due to the ongoing investigation.
At the time of the incident, Harris and her husband were in California attending a surprise abortion rights rally. It is unclear whether they have returned to D.C. yet.
The shooting near the Vice President‘s residence is yet another example of the rising crime in D.C., and highlights the need for increased security for both elected officials and their staffers. It remains to be seen what, if any, action will be taken in response to this incident.