D.C.

Police had advance warning before National Zoo shooting

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(WJLA) - It turns out that police had some advance warning that there might be trouble at the National Zoo on Easter Monday – and some of the intelligence came from social media.

"That day we did get some intel about gang members that wanted to meet up at the zoo and wanted to fight," explained Captain L. Ware with WMATA Police.

Multiple officers from several agencies packed the zoo, and when they spotted trouble, they quickly asked patrons to leave. Not long afterwards, the shooting broke out on Connecticut Avenue just outside the zoo’s entrance.

At a standing-room only meeting on Wednesday night, Woodley Park residents wanted to know what went wrong, despite the heavy police presence.

"What are we going to do about intervening with the gangs?" asked one concerned resident.

"You knew you had an unruly group...why weren't the police surrounding them and following them?" asked D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh.

Police tried to reassure everyone that it was a specific incident:

"It seems like it was these two individuals targeted," said Captain Melvin Gresham with D.C. Police. "We don't think it was a random shooting."

But the Easter Monday Family Day celebrations have had trouble in the past, and the Zoo director said the staff would try harder to make it safe:

"We're going to go back to the drawing board and rethink everything we're doing to make it as safe as possible," said Dennis Kelly.

Still, some residents say they don’t think that’s good enough, and think the Zoo should put an end to the event altogether.

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