“Homicide 1300 Block Columbia MPD Was Right There”


This is getting beyond insane. From a Council Member Jim Graham email:

“Sadly I must inform you that an adult male (not yet identified) was shot five times in about the same location that Paul Jones was killed on January 9. He was pronounced at the hospital a short time later. This all occurred just after 10 PM.

This is the same block that has had a police post and a light tower every day for months.

The light tower was not up due to the rain. But Cmdr Kucik informs me that the police officer was at the post in the middle of the block at the very time this person was shot. Other officers were nearby and responded immediately.

This means that the shooting occurred just a stone’s throw from a police officer. He heard the shots and went to the body.

We are awaiting more information.”

46 Comment

  • Hopefully some of the changes at MPD will help get this area under control. Its rediculous that an officer was right there. We just got a foot patrol on the east side of Georgia Avenue near warder and newton and he is doing a great job of addressing our problems. I guess columbia and 13th is a little different, though.

  • now all we need are some stern judges and people willing to do jury duty.

  • This is the block between harvard and Columbia. Quite frankly it sounds like someone is beefing. There were also shots on Friday night.

    On a similar note, The city sold (at least parts of) Columbia Heights Village several years ago. I heard that after a period of time (8 yrs?) that the private company would be able to develop the property. I have also heard that they are making an effort to get rid of the crooks… (HOw about the top floor of 1304 Columbia, right hand side… Both units.)

    Can anyone track down an official comment?

  • I don’t see how the “bunker mentality” of sticking a cop under a light pole is supposed to have any effect on crime. The criminals either go down the block or, in this case, totally ignore the cop.

  • The thugs believe they can get away with murder right under the cops’ nose. Turns out they were right. Shows how impotent MPD really is.

    What’s the solution? (please don’t say more recreation centers).

  • The solution? Level the big block projects to start.

    If you have a place that is too dangerous for the cops to enter, it is a bad place. And the cops won’t enter the projects on this block alone.

  • Am2o–If you haven’t called 911 to report 1304 Columbia then your complaining about it on this blog is meaningless kvetching. Call the 3d District headquarters after 3pm and ask to speak to the vice squad. You don’t have to leave your name.

    But if you don’t call, you’re just blogging into the wind.

  • The cops can’t do anything to address these problems. Unfortunately, what we have is basic lawlessness in this city and the bad guys outnumber the good guys. We need another surge of gentrification AND some serious changes in sentencing to keep these thugs off the streets. I’ve lived here all my life and it’s the only way anything ever changes in this city.

  • I realize this is totally un PC but living within 2 blocks of this: move everyone out, bulldoze them, start over. This high crime area is not new. Nothing the police have been doing is stopping it. I have lost confidence in the system.

    People (including myself) will ask where will the people living there go?? But, is it better for them to be trapped in an extremely dangerous situation? A terrible situation for all involved.

    How about sweeps of the buildings? Unreasonable search and seizure issues exist, but at some point don’t the police have enough evidence of crime to sweep the buildings for illegal activity??

  • it’s embarrassing for the neighborhood, the DC police, and Mayor Fenty. how much longer will it be until an innocent bystander is killed? maybe they’ll put another horrible tasteless memorial that will sit for months.

  • My favorite thing about that memorial was that it contained several bottles of empty alcohol bottles despite the kid being 19. I found that amusing (that does not mean I found his death amusing).

  • Wall that area off, give them guns and ammo and let them kill each other.

  • I have walked 13th from Park down to U day and night this year, and it just doesn’t strike me as a dangerous neighborhood. It’s your average DC residential street in this area – moderately quiet and a little unkept (but what street in DC isn’t?). So why all the violence here? What’s the draw? Am I just being naive? (And I’m not saying there’s no problem here. There’s obviously a serious problem with gun violence and gangs here. I’m just asking why that is, and why at this intersection.)

  • Some of you guys are straight out of a Monty Python sketch:

  • Holy crap….its sad when Monty Python gets closer to reality!

  • Same problem, same place as the last time. And the time before that. The joke is that it’s been going on for a couple years, the core of the perpetrators are likely known to many in that area, and there still are no arrests/successful prosecutions. Seriously, pull up the Google map, draw a two-block radius around 14th and Girard or so, and you’ve probably got 65% of the crime that gets reported on this blog within the resulting circle. I give it 15-20 days before we can cut & paste these same comments on another post.

  • I have to agree with the anons above who are for leveling the subsidized housing around the CH metro (not with those advocating killing them or encouraging them to kill each other). It seems to me that the anecdotal evidence of violence right next to big blocks of subsidized housing around here is getting so frequent that the sample size is now statistically significant. These blocks are exactly why we have public nuisance laws allowing for municipalities to seize properties that breed violence through eminent domain, and that is exactly what DC should do with these apartments. I think subsidized housing is a necessary thing, and a good thing if properly managed, but concentrating subsidized housing is clearly leading to bad results here, and DC needs to enact planning and zoning laws making it illegal to do so.

  • I live at 14 and Girard and I wholeheartedly agree with the 2 block radius observation. I also agree with levelling some of the projects, but let me offer a couple other observations…..

    No outside public area is ever built into these buildings, so people spill out to the front of the building along the street (Trinity Towers as an example). If there was a courtyard for people to hang out in, that was blocked from the public street, it might significantly cut down on drivebys, or at least concentrate the thugs on the street and away from those in a courtyard who are just looking for fresh air (and not selling their body or a dime bag)

    ability to do random searches should be a standard clause in any lease for subsidized housing and if any illegal substance or weapon is found during such sweep, immediate eviction. There are good, hardworking folks on waiting lists to get into a lot of these buildings. Get the criminals out, and the good folks in.

  • “The solution? Level the big block projects to start.”

    I don’t think the buildings pulled a gun and shot anyone. Some person did. Don’t displace your anger on the projects for the person shooting someone. Leaving the buildings and get rid of the people. Let normal working class people live there and let the unwmployed baby makers move to PG.

    True story. I just rented my house to a lady. She was born in ’79. Her oldest child is 14. At that rate, she will be a grandmother by the age of 35. She’s only 30. I imagine she still wants to live her life. Yet, she is straddled with 5 kids. Here’s a guess that at least one of her boys will grow up to be hellraisers. She doesn’t live in a housing project. My point is that it isn’t the houses. It is the people and how they are raising their children. Police can not solve a people problem as we saw in this case.

  • Bryan,

    In this case, the shootee was in “escape alley” between Harvard, and Columbia; 13th & 14th. All the houses in this project face into the alley, which is where everyone hangs out on the stoop. It is essentially a courtyard, away from the traffic on the street.

    This configuration also makes the police sitting in a car, infront of a playground, but away from where people “hang” a little silly. There are 5 sort of courtyards associated with CH Village, between 13th & 14th off of Columbia Rd. No line of sight between them. As far as I can tell, the cops hang in their cars by the playground that fronts on columbia road. The walk bys help, but it would take postings by each “courtyard” to put a freeze on these. Perhaps just on the ones with vehicle access?

  • I made the comment about building the walls and supplying weapons and ammo in jest. Sort of akin to the satire displayed in the Monty Python Youtube. The comment was really made in exasperation.

    Nate you have mentioned this before, but there seems to be little link between Sec 8/Public Housing and criminal activity. That is, you get a record while you are under a voucher or are in public housing, you are out. Anyone living underyour roof gets in trouble, you are out. Does the housing department and MPD talk? Apparently not.

  • I think the city should rebuild swanky urban lofts to move all these people into… by doing so the city can improve the self-worth of the indivduals but teach them that they need not work to achieve such self worth. The city can pay for this by increasing property taxes, taxes on the wealthy, increasing sales taxes, increasing parking ticket fines, and city fees/surcharges. Once the DC government gets bigger and more inefficient, it can hire more people to do worthless jobs like stand in the box at interesections, because rather than synchronize the traffic lights, we will create jobs with poorly synchronized lights. Oh wait… this already happened, and look what we have, a dramatic improvement in quality of life for the taxpayers… I know, I’m going to volunteer at the rec center, because the parents and school system are so ineffective, the rec center is our last best hope.

  • am20 – sounds like that layout wasn’t too thought out either – I’m speaking more of the Trinity Towers and the buildings on 14th and Fairmont. Either way, I think a little more though toward crime when designing these layouts could go a long way

    Bleeding Heart – is it possible I just found the only other Republican in DC? Or are you not there yet? You’ll get there…. DC gov’t will push you there

  • Anon @ 1:24 — it typically is the case in any public housing context (full disclosure: I haven’t specifically seen the DCHA contract, so I don’t know the specifics here) that, as a condition of housing, you agree to abide by all applicable laws, and if you or any of your family or guests violate them, that is a material breach that is grounds for removal. DCHA actually has its own police, but if they do anything by way of enforcement, I am hard-pressed to identify what. The problem is that, even if beefed up, DCHA jurisdiction isn’t going to extend to non-DCHA properties (which are most of what is in that area — 1475 Columbia Road is the only DCHA property in that immediate vicinity).

  • Bryan and Bleeding Heart – I’m not a republican because I believe in gay rights, women’s rights, etc, but living in DC has definitely left me feeling pretty jaded about the democrats in charge here. Why are they so blind to the problems? Why do they think throwing money at the problem will help?

    Here’s what I propose: give the current tenants of the property ownership of the units but stop subsidizing any living expenses. At that point, they’ll be forecd to get jobs to pay for food and property taxes. If they fail, they can always sell the unit at market rate and move out.

    The neighborhood will naturally reach a new balance in which those who get jobs will remain and those who refuse to work will not be able to pay their bills and will naturally leave (probably will just choose to sell). Even those who sell will at least get the money from the sale of the unit, so they can start a new life – maybe pay for a college education?

  • Anon 2:04, Anon, 1:24 here. I wonder how that applies to section 8 vouchers?

  • an idea, i think its incorrect to say that if you support civil rights then you cant be republican… i do agree with bryan though; give it time. im constantly amazed at the long time transplants here that are still die hard liberal democrats!

  • When there is more gentrification and when DC starts looking like the rest of the USA, then we’ll a decline in the levels of depravity and degeneracy.

  • My response was full of sarcasm… not that party matters as a DC resident, but I tend to go with an “R” over a “D” every time, though I am an “I”.

    Served on the DC Grand Jury last summer… put it this way, what you don’t hear about in the news is much more concerning than this… these complexes are cesspools… and the generations are only 15-18 yrs apart, I think we are probably in the 3rd/4th, starting the 4th/5th generation, so its bound to continue and get worse. Obviously, not every person in these complexes fits the cesspool mantra, but it is widespread. The cost of maintaining this is astronomical… DC has 300 +DA’s, with 30+ cases at a time, administrative people, cops, clerks, public defenders, jails… and the citizens serving year around. Not to mention, the cost to subsidize the housing, food stamps, educate, arrest, incarcerate, re-educate, sometimes re-arrest, and re-incarcerate. It’s really sad.

    Thank you LBJ, your Great Society is GRRREAT.

  • I have an older (mid-60s) colleague who is the most right-wing person you’d ever want to know. He says that 25 years ago he was as liberal as me. He says this conversion was caused by living in DC (he lives in MoCo now) and trying to honestly rent out the basement of his house (near Col. Heights/A.M. border). He says all that he saw were people who refused to take responsibility for themselves and who believed that everything was “somebody else’s fault”.

  • Anonymous,

    Sorry can’t call 3d vice and not leave my name… There is no one there at 3:58PM – just an answering machine.

  • Seems like this problem keeps coming up over and over and over again. What’s it gonna take to finally convince the DC government that concentrated public housing projects don’t work.

    Is this what those in public policy refer to as an “acceptable level of risk”?

    My guess is that nothing will change until the gentrifiers and the DC natives that do work constitute a majority and can vote out those that are afraid to confront the roots of problems.

  • And not only can you not get 3d vice, but the voice mailbox is full

  • “And not only can you not get 3d vice, but the voice mailbox is full”

    lol, DC gov’t.

  • did anyone signed up for Alert DC from MPD get a notification about this? I didn’t, and I definitely included that area in my choices of notifications.

    I got a dozen emails about the situation at the Holocaust Museum, but nothing about this. It makes me feel like MPD sent this announcement to PoP more for as a public relations matter than to inform and protect the citizens of the community.

  • I went back and spoke to some of the CHV security about some of the buildings. The subject of 1304 came up (without specifics from me)… CHV security said that they had filed reports with MetroPD about four times this year. They are waiting on action by DCPD, who won’t bother with Marijuana busts – even if it drops drug dealing traffic, or stops people getting shot…

    Seems like DCPD is about as well organized as DCRA.

  • “am2o Says:
    June 11th, 2009 at 8:37 pm
    I went back and spoke to some of the CHV security about some of the buildings. The subject of 1304 came up (without specifics from me)

  • “Nate you have mentioned this before, but there seems to be little link between Sec 8/Public Housing and criminal activity. That is, you get a record while you are under a voucher or are in public housing, you are out. Anyone living underyour roof gets in trouble, you are out. Does the housing department and MPD talk? Apparently not.”

    If MPD arrests a guy on Euclid for selling drugs, how would they know his name is on a lease of a Sec8 property at CHV? They wouldn’t. Even if they reported it to DCHA, the employees at DCHA are very pro tenant. MPD would have no way of knowing if the guy was on a lease of a Section 8 property unless the arrested were to tell the police. Not likely. This problem is not going to be solved. Read my email about my most recent tenant with 5 kids at the age of 30. She has had 4 boys and 1 girl that are going to breed more of the people that cause the problems in the city. Until you can stop the likes of her from breeding, then good luck at solving this problem.

  • Here’s a better idea, if you yuppies don’t like it or are too scared then by all means, pack up and leave. Go back to the nice safe communities you came from before because if you are on here bitching now then you have NO idea what is was like not to long ago. These people who everyone wants to displace were here long before you and will probably be here long after the “fad” of city living has gone. You think that because you move into an area that the city should drop everything to accommodate your needs. Sorry to disappoint but its not going to happen and shouldn’t. Did any of you actually look around before buying property? Did you do any research on what the area was like? Did you actually think a Target and Starbucks would change anything? This is a city, there is crime, deal with it.

  • Here we go. I was wondering when the I-was-here-before-all-of-you contingent was going to weigh in with their it’s-better-now-than-20-years-ago-so-therefore-there-is-no-problem message. Get something original. You and your complacency are part of the problem.

  • I dunno, I’ve only lived in DC for 40 years. In CH for 10.

    While this area really sucked 20 Years ago, 8 years ago – it was better. My immediate vicinity is suffering from a typical crime caused gentrification. I don’t like it, my neighbors terrorized by living next to a criminal enterprise (and who would move if they could afford it) don’t like it. The Crimminals don’t like it.

    Stop: Stop being a hater. The people who were here before me don’t like the crime, most of the people in Section8 don’t like crime. The kids who are paid in lollypops to be police lookouts don’t like crime.

    Personally, I suspect that the age kids can work at should be lowered: They might not be worth much for work, but they are worth more than 1 dum-dum lollypop an hour: Which is about what they get on lookout duty. This feeds them into a drug-dealing “lifestyle” – instead of making more money at McDonalds.

  • @Stop

    I’m always confused by those who argue the yuppies should go away so the poor folks can be live their lives without being bothered by efforts to reduce violent crime. I would have thought we could all agree that violent crime is something worth stopping. Sorry for jamming your chill.

    And by the way, I am moving. So enjoy your violent crime without me.

  • @ Stop Complaining – yuppie is definitely a tired moniker, just like your tired a$$ perspective. C’mon teflon boy, give us a more apt badge, yuppies live in the suburbs, we gotta be called something else when we move to your hood. I know you can do better.

    I pretty much fall into the hopeless contingent. Last Friday when those 9 rounds from the .38 went off 20 feet from my bedroom window, it took a good 4 minutes before any cop entered the alley. When those 5 rounds went off Tuesday night dropping the dude by the dumpsters, I didn’t hear sirens for a good 5 minutes. We all know how close they are to the action. I don’t blame the cops, why go down avenging the life of a thug? I wouldn’t. Not on that salary. Not for this thankless city.

    IMHO, the impending flight of the moneyed class is the only impetus to set the wheels of effective action in motion. Just cut to the fuKing chase.

    One life to live . . .

  • “yuppies live in the suburbs”

    the “u ” stands for urban.

  • On Yuppies, with caveat that I am one, or was one at one point.

    Using Code words like Yuppies, Chink, Nigger, Jap, or Thug does nothing to help the discussion.

    I suspect that no one thinks the City should “Drop Everything” for them. However, I think that the (insert any code word, but thug, here)’s don’t want gunfire by their houses. Even if it is by “very marginalized people” and directed at “people so marginalized no one cares much,” no one wants to risk being shot by someone with bad aim.

    This gets to be double when people get old enough to have kids, and start worrying about them.


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