“We are tired of seeing what’s going on in our city. The youth truly don’t comprehend what love, care and respect really is,” one participant, Robert Wood, told 7 News of the protest held Thursday.
A group called “We are Mothers” organized the walk after the killing of 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney last Friday.
Courtney had just finished riding her scooter when she was caught in gunfire that also injured five adults. The young girl would have entered 1st grade this fall.
“It’s very heartbreaking; no mother deserves to bury they child at a young age like that,” said one of the marchers.
“Gun violence in the city, it’s just gotten out of control, and all of these young folks feel the same way, so they need older folks like me to show, ‘Hey, we’re listening and we’re here to help you,'” another marcher said.
Police are offering a $60,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the shooting and said earlier this week they recovered a vehicle they believe is connected to the crime.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee announced that more police officers will be patrolling areas on mountain bikes and scooters to make the department’s presence known on the streets.
“This is as a direct result of conversations that I’ve had with communities. We want to see police officers out of the cars. We want to see police officers in the community. Well, here you have it,” Contee said.
The move comes after Black Lives Matter and liberal politicians across the nation called for police departments to be defunded last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
In D.C., the city council voted last July to slash police funding by $15 million, despite Mayor Muriel Bowser’s objections, and put the department on a hiring freeze.
Bowser has not responded to repeated requests for comment from Fox News on plans to combat crime in the city, including a response to the marchers calling for the gun crimes to stop.
The nation’s capital has been struggling with an uptick in crime this year, most notably with carjackings skyrocketing by 74% this year. The city has also reported 106 homicides since January, compared to 105 during the same timeframe last year.