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Two shot as gunfire erupts in Washington, D.C., sending diners fleeing

The police chief called the shooting "unacceptable" and comes as a federal task force was dispatched to focus on illegal firearms trafficking.
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Gunfire erupted in a Washington, D.C., area known for its restaurants Thursday, wounding two men, one of whom may have been a bystander, police said.

The shooting at around 8:20 p.m. at 14th Street NW and Riggs Street NW sent diners fleeing.

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee called the violence "unacceptable" and said the shooting occurred in an area with a lot of people around.

"I think this really kind of speaks to the brazenness of some of the criminals that we're seeing in our community," Contee told reporters at the scene.

The gunfire erupted on the same day the Justice Department announced it was launching firearms trafficking "strike forces" to five cities and regions, including Washington, D.C. The aim is to disrupt gun trafficking corridors that send weapons to these areas, officials said.

The two people shot Thursday suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, and they were recovering at hospitals, police said.

One person was believed to be the target and the other may have been an uninvolved bystander, Contee said. Police released video showing two people in hooded sweatshirts running to a parked black sedan. Authorities described them as suspects.

The area where the shooting occurred is popular for its restaurants and was bustling with customers, NBC Washington reported.

One woman at a nearby restaurant told the station she heard between 10 and 15 shots, and everyone in the patio ran inside. "I just went down to the floor," she said.

Image: Multiple People Injured In Washington, DC Shooting
A police officer holds up caution tape near the site of a shooting on Thursday night Washington, D.C., as gunfire erupted on a busy street, injuring two and sending others fleeing for safety.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

On Friday night, a 6-year-old girl was killed when six people were shot, and the next night fans at a Nationals baseball game scrambled in a panic after three people were shot outside the stadium.

"I'm outraged, the chief is outraged, and the community should be outraged," Mayor Muriel Bowser said.