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VIA THE WASHINGTON POST:

Dressed in black, Nardyne Jeffries held up two photos of her 16-year-old daughter as she prepared Monday to address the D.C. Council. The first, her daughter’s broad smile from a 10th-grade class picture. The second, from a funeral home, with a gunshot to her head.

Jeffries was among the parents and relatives of the four teenagers killed last month in a drive-by shooting on South Capitol Street who pleaded with council members to strengthen the city’s criminal penalties and to do more to keep violent offenders off the streets.

Jeffries’s daughter, Brishell Jones, was an aspiring chef who was with friends just blocks away from her Southeast home on March 30, when she was among four teenagers shot to death by assailants who sprayed a crowded street with an AK-47-style assault weapon. Three suspects — District men Orlando Carter, 20, and Nathaniel Simms, 26, and a juvenile — have been arrested and face multiple charges in the drive-by attack.

In testimony marked with anger, frustration and sadness, family members said the District’s justice system had failed their children by allowing the suspects to “roam the streets and prey on innocent children.”

“I don’t think anyone in the public feels safe,” Jeffries said as she urged the council to change what she called outdated and lenient laws.

Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), who presided over the hearing of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, said he shared their frustration.

“If you are angry, you have every right to be angry,” Mendelson said. “There have to be consequences.”

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