Dear PoP – Mugging at 3rd and R St., NW

Dirty Harry, originally uploaded by howzey.

“I was wondering if you heard anything about a mugging this (Monday) morning at 3rd and R NW…around 9:30am.

I stepped outside of my door to heard a girl screaming up the street at the bus stop. The girl was on the phone (i assume calling the cops) by the time I got close so I ended up following the guy til he cut into an alley off of R between 1st and N Capital. a few minutes later I waved down police and told them where he went. It looked like he took this girl’s backpack.

I’d really like to know if they caught the guy. There was a part of me that wanted to try to tackle him and all that but figured he might be armed so played it cool. I was curious if you had heard anything about it or if you know if there is a way to find out from the police if the guy was caught.

I felt bad cause i really wanted to get the girl her bag back for her, but I couldn’t justify risking confronting him if he had a gun or if he had friends in the vicinity. I think I’ve watched too many action movies. i almost saw grand torino this weekend…lol. maybe it’s good i didn’t. I’d be curious if people have had similar experiences and how they responded.”

Damn, this is horrible to hear about. And I think it’s even worse that it happened at 9:30 am. Ridiculous. Well, I haven’t heard anything about this particular mugging but perhaps someone else reading has?

But of course, you made the right decision. You made sure the girl was ok and that the cops were alerted. That is all you can do without putting yourself in danger. I hear you though. There are many times when I’ve wanted to have a Dirty Harry reaction when I hear about some of these crimes. I think the only exception would be if you saw someone getting beat up/assaulted. And even in that situation you’d have to be super careful and certainly calling the cops/911 is the right thing to do. Has anyone else been in a similar situation?

I’m sorry to report more bad crime news in Columbia Heights after the jump.

On Friday evening a 17 year old was shot and killed on the 1300 block of Columbia Road according to WJLA Apparently, this evening there was a retaliatory shooting at the 1400 block of Girard St. From a Jim Graham Email:

Dear Friends, ANC member Juan Lopez called me just minutes after a shooting (about 7 PM) in front of the Col Hts Rec Center on the 1400 block of Girard. I went directly to the scene.

A 16 year old boy was grazed in the hand, and he will be alright.

But a number of shots were fired—four shots struck the windows at the Rec Center. Fortunately no one else was hit.

This appears to be more gang related violence. Retaliation by one gang against another, perhaps involving the crew at Park Morton (which sustained a homicide last Friday night).

Sadly I just received this news from a reader:

“I was walking home tonight at about 10:30 PM and came upon about 6-7 police cars right at the intersection of Rock Creek Church & Warder St. Looks like somebody shot up a couple of cars; no people hit apparently. You have any more info?”

I’ll update as soon as I get more info.

14 Comment

  • to whomever wrote in with the information about this mugging: you might want to write to places like In Shaw (an historically gentrified blog), which covers the area that includes the corner of 3rd and R. perhaps mari, who runs that blog, could post something about it there, and she might be able to help direct you to more local folk who can help you out.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Thanks IMGoph. But I still think the issue is worth discussing here. That is – how does one react to a similar situation? Additionally there are many readers from that area here as well.

  • Vonstallin

    Thus far I have always went with my gut feelings…sometimes it ended in a good situation…other times pretty bad.

    Go with your gut…No regret when you got with it.

  • PoP: i’m sorry, prince, if that sounded like i was saying you shouldn’t cover it here. by all means, this is something that should be discussed city-wide. i just wanted to let your readers know about other options out there to help spread the word.

  • When I was a teenager I was robbed of my bag at a bus stop with several adults standing right there who did nothing but watch. I think I felt more humiliated that no one helped. This was a strong arm robbery in which I struggled with the mugger and everyone just stood and stared.

    Several years after that I was at a gas station and I saw a man and a woman standing by another car that appeared to be arguing. After a few seconds I realized that the man was actually robbing her. I ran over grabbed the guy by his arm and pushed him off her, once he regained his footing he pointed a gun point blank in my face. I froze and he then turned and ran away. I guess I was just lucky that day, but it certainly made me think twice about intervening in the future.

    Overall I agree with vonstallin that you just have to go with your gut. Sometimes you’re feeling brave and sometimes you aren’t.

  • This is the same location (3rd & R NW) where a woman was recently mugged and stabbed to death while waiting for her 7:00AM bus. Apparently there is a crack house near the bus stop. Horrible.

  • @Ro – Those are both really crazy stories. Were both the incidents (bus stop/gas station) in DC?

    @FH Says – I live right by the intersection of 3rd and R and woke up to see crime tape the morning that lady got stabbed back in October I think. By the time I walked by it was just media that was still there but it was really eery.

    I am curious if now that everybody has cell phones and online discussions like this, if people could somehow help law enforcement more effectively.

  • A couple of months ago I witnessed a mugging at 16th and Shepherd at 8:30 in the morning on a Friday. A girl was standing on the median waiting to cross the street and a guy ran up behind her and grabbed her purse, pulling her into on-coming traffic (going north towards Silver Spring). There were at least 6 of us standing on the other side of the street, unable to get across to help her (because of all the traffic going towards downtown). As soon as traffic cleared, I and 2 other women started running after the guy but he was way ahead of us. It was the scariest thing I’ve witnessed since moving to DC a few years ago. Not because I’m naive to think these things don’t happen everywhere, but you don’t expect them to happen in front of a bunch of people in the middle of rush hour. I stayed with the girl and we talked to a couple of very nice detectives but I don’t know if they ever caught the guy.

  • Vonstallin

    I am sorry to hear about all the crime.

    It gets depressing so I stop watching local news years and years ago. Only CNN for top stories, national and international news.

    Stand your ground…It will get better.

    It might take a few years, but it will get better.

  • fyi – unrelated to POP’s question, but on the topic of crime, I saw this in the paper this morning:

  • Unless the victim is a loved one or friend, I’d recommend doing everything (yelling at the perp, calling the cops, etc.) except getting physically involved, as the chance of losing your life is extremely high in these types of situations. Having said that, I’d probably break this rule if I thought that a woman was about to be raped or if a child was going to be harmed. I just couldn’t live with myself otherwise.

  • I’m sorry, but this story has to be untrue. as we know, there is no problem with random crime in DC. that was settled once and for all last week in the DC Gangs/Crews postings.

  • I think Charles Bronson from “Death Wish” (1974) might be more apt than Dirty Harry. He goes on a one-man crusade against street crime in NY:

    the film came out just a few years before the Bernie Goetz incident:

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