For the second time this summer, a former congressional intern was killed in the District of Columbia, as a spike in violent crime continues to rock the nation's capital.
Matthew Shlonsky, 23, was shot and killed around 5 p.m. Saturday, though police said he did not appear to be the target. Shlonsky resided in Northeast D.C., but hailed from Ohio. The 2014 American University graduate interned for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, from January to May in 2013. "This is a terrible tragedy. Matt was a talented young man with a bright future who was taken from us too soon," Portman said in a statement. "He was an outstanding intern for me in Washington. Jane's and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and the Cleveland community during this difficult time."
Shlonsky's funeral was set for 4 p.m. Tuesday in Cleveland. Portman's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on whether Portman would attend the services.
At a press conference Monday evening, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, joined by Mayor Muriel Bowser, said the shooting took place at 7th and S St. NW near the Shaw-Howard U Metro stop. Shlonsky appeared to be caught in crossfire of the shooting, as police noted that his friends said he had just gotten out of a cab when he was shot. On Monday MPD released video of six persons of interest in the homicide.
Shlonsky's death comes roughly six weeks after another former congressional intern, Kevin Sutherland, was brutally stabbed to death while aboard a Metro train at the NoMa-Gallaudet station. The 24-year-old was also an American University graduate and had interned for Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn.
Lanier addressed the spike in violence at Monday's press conference, telling reporters that police have arrested 52 people for homicide this year, up from 38 at the same time last year. In the past 30 days, police have acquired 102 illegal guns, a number Lanier said was "staggering."
Lanier said the weapons are not registered and most are own by felons who cannot legally possess guns. She encouraged members of the community to report illegal dice games, which can spark deadly arguments, and information about illegal guns, even offering a reward of up to $1,000 for weapon information.
The police chief appealed to the community to help police track down the illegal weapons. "It's that person's child today and somebody else's child tomorrow," she said.
Correction 3:37 p.m. A previous version of this article misspelled Chief Lanier's first name.
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