Washington, D.C. – An 18-year-old woman became the victim of the city’s first reported homicide of 2024 after being shot and killed at a hotel in Friendship Heights. Emergency responders were called to the Embassy Suites Hotel on Military Road NW shortly after midnight, where they found the victim, Ashalei Hinds, in cardiac arrest. Despite their efforts, Hinds, a resident of Clinton, Maryland, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police sources, the shooting occurred during a party in a room at the hotel. Witnesses reported hearing two gunshots and screaming around 1:15 a.m., with the shattered window in the room being a possible indication of the violence that took place inside. Authorities are seeking a male suspect who fled the scene wearing black clothing and a ski mask, while also searching for up to six individuals who left the room before police arrived.

The incident comes after D.C. saw a marked increase in homicides the previous year, with 274 reported cases in 2023. This number represents a 35% rise from 2022 and is the highest in more than two decades, prompting Mayor Muriel Bowser to work on new legislation to address the trend. The hotel management has said they are cooperating with the police during the investigation.

In the wake of this tragedy, the city and law enforcement are continuing their efforts to address the rise in violence and ensure the safety of its residents. Police are urging anyone with information about the shooting to come forward and assist in the investigation. The loss of another young life to senseless violence has highlighted the ongoing challenges facing the city, but also the determination to find solutions and bring those responsible to justice. Ashalei Hinds’s death serves as a grim reminder of the need for continued efforts to address and prevent such tragic events in the future.