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Another Dart Attack Reported

July 16, 2002
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Another Dart Attack Reported

Total Number of Injuries Reaches 19 in D.C., Prince George's

by David A. Fahrenthold and Martin Weil, Washington Post

A blowgun dart was fired at a man waiting for a bus on Bladensburg Road NE yesterday afternoon, D.C. police said, as new reports brought to at least 19 the number of people injured by the sharpened metal darts in the District and Prince George's County.

Police said yesterday's attack took place about 3:30 p.m. in the 3000 block of Bladensburg Road NE.

D.C. police Capt. Essray Taliaferro of the 5th District said the man was waiting at a bus shelter when he heard a thump. The man looked down to see a dart, which had missed him and apparently struck the shelter, Taliaferro said.

Taliaferro said the dart found on Bladensburg Road looked similar to those used in the other D.C. attacks. About four inches long with a plastic plug on the back, they resemble a large hatpin. Blowgun enthusiasts use similar darts made of sharpened piano wire for target practice and can fire them at speeds exceeding 200 feet per second.

D.C. police said yesterday that they had no evidence linking the dart shootings in the District to those in Prince George's but that it was possible the same person or people were responsible.

A D.C. police official said the FBI crime laboratory is doing tests to determine whether the darts were poisoned or otherwise tainted.

One woman reported to D.C. police yesterday that she had been shot in the back with a dart on the morning of June 8 near Kalorama and Columbia roads NW. The other reported attacks took place during the weekend, with four in the Hyattsville/Landover Hills area on Saturday afternoon, and 13 on Sunday night in various neighborhoods of the District.

Hyattsville police said a man was shot in the arm about 1 p.m. Saturday in the 5800 block of Baltimore Avenue. The next three shootings were on Annapolis Road, Prince George's County police said. A 13-year-old boy in the 6200 block of the street was struck in the torso at 2:45 p.m., and about 15 minutes later, Paul Bailey, of the 6600 block, was struck just above his left elbow.

Bailey said he was walking on Annapolis Road after taking his car to be serviced when he "just felt something hit my arm." Bailey, who is in his fifties and lives in Prince George's County, said he looked down and "there was a dart in my arm." He said the dart penetrated about one-quarter inch.

Thirty minutes after Bailey was struck, a 55-year-old woman was struck in the buttocks in the 5700 block of Annapolis Road, police said.

In addition to nine dart shootings reported earlier, D.C. police said five more victims had come forward yesterday to say they were hit Sunday evening: a man shot in the right side in the 3000 block of 16th Street NW, a man shot in the lower back in the 2600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW, a man struck in the right side at 18th and S streets NW, a man struck in the right side in the 2500 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW and a man shot in the abdomen at New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE, police said.

Police have said some of the victims in the District reported seeing a white car nearby when they were hit.

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