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Davon McNeal was running inside a building in Anacostia to grab a cellphone charger, while his mother waited in the car. They were heading to a Fourth of July cookout organized by McNeal’s mother, Crystal. She is a violence interrupter for the city and saw the cookout as a way to build community trust. Five men suddenly started shooting in the area and a stray bullet struck McNeal in the head, killing him. McNeal was 11 years old.

McNeal is one of three victims of gun violence this holiday weekend. The others were 20 year-old Jordyn Simmons and 36-year-old Antonio Gardiner. This year’s murder rate is on track to beat last year’s, the deadliest year in a decade. The coronavirus has not impacted the city’s murder rate, so now the city is having to grapple with co-occurring public health crises. And both disproportionately impact Black residents.   

This city is reckoning with how best to respond to gun violence in D.C. There are some who believe we’ve relied too much on the police to solve a crisis rooted in societal ills like poverty and housing, and they’ve taken to the streets in recent weeks calling to defund the Metropolitan Police Department. These voices could be heard during a media interview Saturday night with Police Chief Peter Newsham on the murder of McNeal. “All these damn police officers and y’all can’t save lives,” said one resident off camera. 

Of the 89 murders in D.C. this year, at least six victims were minors. McNeal was a star football player, according to the Post, who dreamed of going pro one day. He attended Kramer Middle School, the same school 11-year-old Karon Brown attended. Brown was fatally shot last year.  

“This class of students, the same class of students who had to deal with Karon last summer, have now lost Davon,” Kramer principal Katreena Shelby told the Post. “It is astonishing and sad to witness the resiliency of the students I serve.”

—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • At Monday’s press conference, MayorMuriel Bowser announces a $25,000 reward for information related to the murder of Davon McNeal that can lead to an arrest. The anonymous tip line can be reached via text at 50411 or by calling 202-727-9099.

  • As of July 6, D.C. reported two additional deaths related to COVID-19 and 33 new positive cases bringing the total numbers to 561 and 10,515, respectively. DC Health identified a new peak in cases on June 22, meaning the city has only experienced five days of sustained decrease in community spread. D.C. is slowly meeting Phase 3 metrics. [EOM

  • Moms Demand Action reminds Bowser her proposed budget FY2021 cut money for violence interruption programs when she tweeted about Davon McNeal. [Twitter]  

  • Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters converged on the National Mall on July 4. [DCist

  • Firework incident kills man living in Northwest D.C. [WUSA9]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White to introduce legislation that would eliminate race, ethnicity, and gender from calculations of damages in a lawsuit. [DC Line]

  • D.C. contact tracers are reaching out to those who test positive for coronavirus within 24 hours in nearly every case. [Post]

  • Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto to join the DC Environmental Network for a budget talk today. [DCEN]

  • ICYMI: new laws that went into effect in the area this month. [DCist]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com) 

  • Business owners said the city was spoiling outdoor dining with exorbitant insurance requirements. But after this story was published, the city extended its timeline. [WCP]

  • Remembering 43 years of the Post Pub. [Post]

  • Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. closes its Shaw shop. [Eater DC]

  • Succotash is temporarily closing for the summer in Penn Quarter. [Twitter]

  • Uber acquires Postmates in a $2.65 billion all-stock deal. [Post]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The 1455 Summer Literary Festival plans to bring the writing arts online this year. [WCP]

  • D.C. commissioned 51 new statehood murals. [WAMU]

  • Community theaters are putting on a fundraising telethon. [DC Metro Theater Arts]

SPORTS LINKS, byKelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • It appears inevitable that some time soon Dan Snyder will finally change the name of his football team. On Saturday, head coach Ron Rivera told the Post that “it would be awesome” if the team could change the name before the 2020 season. [WCP, Post]

  • Two unidentified Nationals players have tested positive for COVID-19. During a Zoom call with reporters, pitcher Sean Doolittle cast doubt on the ability of the U.S. to resume sports as coronavirus cases have spiked across the country. On Monday morning general manager Mike Rizzo canceled a scheduled workout because the team had not received test results yet. [WTOP, Twitter]

  • Jackson Rutledge, the Nats’ top pitching prospect, is ready to prove he belongs as one of the 60 players eligible to play MLB games this season for the organization. [WCP]

  • Hyattsville native Frances Tiafoe has also tested positive for COVID-19, after playing in a tennis tournament in Atlanta that included fans in attendance. [AP

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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