31 Year Old Catholic Univ. Student Shot and Killed by Sherman Circle Sat. Night. Shootings also in Shaw and Columbia Heights this Weekend


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I’ve been getting tons of emails about this terrible news. Sorry for the delay in posting, I was out of town for the weekend.

UPDATE from TBD:

“Police say Neil Michael Godleski, 31, was riding his bike when he was shot at and chased by the suspect or suspects. Police are looking into robbery as a possible motive.

Godleski was a senior, majoring in biology, [at Catholic University] ABC 7 News has learned.”

Original report from MPD:

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch are investigating a fatal shooting which occurred in the Unit block of Sherman Circle, NW.

On Sunday, August 22, 2010 shortly after 12:30 am, units responded to the Unit Block of Sherman Circle, NW for the report of a shooting. Upon their arrival, they located a victim suffering from gunshot wounds. DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services arrived and transported the victim to a local area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The decedent is identified as 31 year-old Neil Michael Godleski of the 500 block of Ingraham Street, NW.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME (1-888-919-2746). The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons wanted for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.

Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to D.C. CRIME SOLVERS at 1-866-411-TIPS and to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411. If the information provided by the caller to the Crime Solvers Unit leads to an arrest and indictment, that caller will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

In other disturbing crime news. On Fri. night/Sat. morning there was a shooting in Shaw. From MPD:

“An adult male was shot at 8th and R St NW at approximately 3:00 am. He was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.”

Also on Fri. night/Sat. morning there was a shooting in Columbia Heights. From MPD:

“An adult male was shot in the 3000 block of 14 St NW and was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.”

97 Comment

  • Must be recruiting time for all the local groups of public-agency-protected-and-sanctioned killer thugs. Kill a ____fill in___ and you’re in……oh, and by the way, here is a bag of guns.

  • Now who said NW was safer than SE

    • Prince Of Petworth

      I do not post all crimes that take place in the city. Argument about which quadrant is safer is not useful in anyway. These are all tragedies.

      Aug. 18 there was a Fatal Shooting in the 2100 Block of Fairlawn Avenue, SE. From MPD:

      “On Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at approximately 12:51 am, units from the Sixth District were dispatched to the 2500 block of Fairlawn Avenue, S.E., for the report of a shooting. Upon their arrival, they located the victim suffering from apparent gunshot wounds in the 2100 block of Fairlawn Avenue, SE. DC Emergency and Medical Services responded and transported the victim to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

      The decedent is identified as 16 year-old Anthony Barnes of the 900 block of Nova Avenue, Capitol Heights, MD.

      Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME (1-888-919-2746).”

      • These reports concern PEOPLE. Brothers, Husbands, Wives, Mothers, Grandmothers, Children and in this case one family’s only son. Understand that these are people; not some intro for snarky comments. Respect the fact that these are stories of victims … please keep your comments to yourself. Unless they’re pertinent to finding my friend’s killer.

        • Thank you. Neil was an awesome guy. A good guy. What a shock to see his face on the news. Ugh what a horrible feeling to know he is gone….

  • Time to put lghting up in that cirlce. Why would anyone leave it dark after this? Crimes are reported here on a regular basis and have been for years.

    • And I’m not talking a visit from the Ghetto Sun. Real, full-time lighting. Right in the middle. Light this pace up. See if the little bastards will be so eager to hang out when we can see them

    • Agreed. I was attending a women’s boot camp there in the mornings and at 7am in the summertime it’s a little scary to get there by yourself.

      This is really a shame for this young man, and because I have seen so many families really enjoying this circle lately.

  • Not me, the powers in 4D certainly know all the players in the Hilltop, Taylor, and RCC operations, might there must be complicity within the police force? or is this SE/Shaw thugs’ destination for enrollment action? where is the polish mafia when you need them? or just random acts of bullets flying in the nation’s capitol on a weekend night? puzzoff!

  • Sad news for family and friends of the victims ~

  • “An adult male was shot at 8th and R St NW at approximately 3:00 am. He was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.”

    Can we shut down Lincoln Westmoreland I/II yet? Or at least the hippie tent village lobbying for another one to be built right next to them?

    • AMEN! These projects need to be shut down. People want low income housing, but when you look at the map– that is EXACTLY where the majority of the crime happens. Lets shut down the low income housing. If people realize their homes are at risk, maybe they’ll stop shooting people. If they’re stupid enough to continue, they can be stupid enough to live on the streets or move to a city that has more public housing available. I’m sick of this.

      • Agreed, encourage residents there to speak out and act to make this area safer

      • You’re an ignorant idiot making all kinds of unfounded assumptions. Stick to facts you know, please.

        • what specific unfounded accusation are you referring to?
          that there is crime near public housing?
          perhaps you are suggesting that people don’t actually want public housing.

      • The common misperception that everyone in low income housing are violent and out to commit crimes. Newsflash: Not everyone in low income housing is a criminal. The vast majority are just as sick of what is going on, if not more, as you are. How about you stop lumping the residents together and get a clue.

  • “Not me, the powers in 4D certainly know all the players in the Hilltop, Taylor, and RCC operations, might there must be complicity within the police force?”

    God forbid myself and other officers arrest people based on probable cause and not gut feeling. Sure, officers know who are the drug boys in their beat, but unless you have a vice unit or NSID working with beat officers, you’re not going to get the guys running the show. And even if you lock up the dope boys, they get no papered/probation/slap on the wrist. The idea of corrupt officers taking payoffs from dumb hucks on the street is, by and large, a media creation.

    “Police say Neil Michael Godleski, 31, was riding his bike when he was shot at and chased by the suspect or suspects. Police are looking into robbery as a possible motive.”

    DING DING DING DING DING. It’s most likely a robbery gone even worse, or crossfire. Since the average street thug isn’t a marksman, I’d go with “Robbery” with “dope deal” a distant second.

    • PoP … I’m sorry, but I’ve seen these comments too many times. I know it’s a pain to you, but please edit these to constructive comments or comments that will help solve these crimes. You all need to understand that these articles concern actual people. show some respect.

    • can someone explain the “no papering” to me? i’ve heard this before with respect to firearms charges, and have wondered what the reason is? is the burden of proof too high? are the DAs concerned about overwhelming the prison system? seems that from DC code, if you get caught with a gun while committing a crime, you’re kinda screwed.

      (b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, rifle, or any other firearm or imitation firearm while committing a crime of violence or dangerous crime as defined in § 22-4501. Upon conviction of a violation of this subsection, the person may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 years and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a mandatory-minimum term of not less than 5 years and shall not be released on parole, or granted probation or suspension of sentence, prior to serving the mandatory-minimum sentence.

      • Your concerns about no papering are overblown. It rarely, I mean rarely, ever happens. In the cases it does, it usually is a white guy that gets the courtesy. Google Jim Webb’s aide carrying a gun into the Capitol for an example of a gun crime not being prosecuted.

        • Whether that’s true or not, let’s stick to examples from the jurisdiction at hand. What happens in the rest of the country, doesn’t necessarily need to excuse/explain/affect what happens in DC.

          We’re our own animal.

        • Depends on the charge. Domestics are no-papered all the time because the complainant doesn’t want to proceed. Juvenile cases are often no-papered because the complainant doesn’t show up at the OAG’s office at 8 or 9 am the next day. For some reason, either because of juvenile procedural rules or OAG policy, complainants need to respond in person. Adult cases get papered a lot more often because the complainant doesn’t need to come down for papering.

          Also, when cases are papered, the attorneys paper them as lesser charges i.e. an ADW (assault with a dangerous weapon) knife with minor injuries will be papered as a simple assault and a weapon possession, a felony assault might be papered as a simple assault, etc.

          The whole papering process isn’t byzantine, but sometimes the decisions made by prosecutors confuse the hell out of me.

  • looks like he wasn’t too far from home. or from my home.

  • Even at 12:30am on a Sunday, I can’t imagine somebody didn’t see this happen. Sherman Circle has people streaming through it at all hours. This really disturbs me as someone who lives a couple blocks from Sherman and rides my bike at night. This guy wasn’t walking home drunk behind a back alley somewhere. He was commuting on his bike, on a major street with bike lanes in the middle of a neighborhood. That shouldn’t be high risk behavior anywhere in the city. Keeping my eyes peeled.

    • And I am wondering if he was actually IN the circle, as opposed to riding in the traffic lanes AROUND the circle. I’d like to know, because I ride my bike everywhere at all hours and I think in my mind there’d be a big difference. Does anybody know exactly where the crime occurred?

  • I personally find this issue to be overwhelmingly too complex to address in a blog, though it is good we are at least sharing ideas. The combination of guns on the street, gang violence, a lack of juvenile outreach programs, economic hardship, and the inevitable randomness of crime leave me wondering what any of us can do to have a significant impact. This is one issue I’d like to see front and center in the campaign for Mayor: a solid, 5-year+ plan to reduce gun-related crimes in DC. As a member of MPD’s 4D listserv, I see this issue come up time and again. Unfortunately, the end result is just frustration with a few minor reactive victories when police make an arrest.

    • Me too. I also wonder if there’s a grassroots to address those issues. A project in honor of Neil and the others that have died due to our negligence.

  • A little over a year ago, my roommate (also a former Catholic student) was robbed on my back porch. The robbers were screaming “shoot the MF”! MPD was so flippant in following up investigating the robbery. My roommate had a description and the tag # of the car. He didn’t receive a call back from MPD for well over a week. I bring this up to say that when MPD doesn’t investigate robberies when they have so much of the relevant information, it emboldens criminals. I live right around the corner from Sherman Circle. Is it far fetched that this may be the same band of thugs?

    When they catch them, I am willing to bet they have had contact with DYRS. I am also willing to bet that the shooter(s) were under the age of 21.

    • I’m not sure the MPD is doing a bad job in DC. I hear anecdotes, but I’ve also personally experienced some very helpful response. It probably varies by district though. 1D is fantastic.

      On the other hand, the city council has created a legal situation where the standard is “will the punishment limit the future employment of the perpetrator” not, “will the punishment deter individuals from committing the crime again”. When you have an opportunity to vote for mendolson again this year, you can thank him for this soft headed approach to crime deterrence/punishment.

    • I remember this. Were you once Nate?

  • Quoting Anonymous – “AMEN! These projects need to be shut down. People want low income housing, but when you look at the map– that is EXACTLY where the majority of the crime happens. Lets shut down the low income housing. If people realize their homes are at risk, maybe they’ll stop shooting people. If they’re stupid enough to continue, they can be stupid enough to live on the streets or move to a city that has more public housing available. I’m sick of this.”

    ——————————

    Why don’t we also close down all those churches on 16th too! I see all sorts of poor and down and out people congregating around there for all sorts of things! It’s too bad there are people like you that just don’t get it.

    • Yeah, maybe we can just preemptively shoot all the people who look poor or otherwise look like thugs so no one else (err.. white people) get shot. Besides, they’d be as good as dead anyway if we kick them all out of their homes.

      Okay, this is silly. But who the heck living in Petworth is coming up with this crazy stuff?

      PoP: You need to start moderating comments. Some of the stuff being posted here will only incite more violence.

  • Is anyone interested in organizing some sort of remembrance event — I feel like after something as tragic as this, it is important for the community to come together in support of our neighborhood and our neighbor who tragically lost his life.

    • I think a remembrance event is a great idea–especially if it’s combined with proactive action. (Maybe a fund-raising drive or political action to turn on lights in the circle).

    • Ditto. A candlelight take back the night march/vigil is in order.

    • Good idea. Watch out for crazy Tea Party types crashing your vigil and turning into a hate fest. Seriously. Some of the comments above have me very worried.

      • Honestly I think it would have a lot of support *from* people in public housing–they are the ones who have to deal with the violence *all* the time. TP-types should show some respect.

  • If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1000 times. Instead of lamenting, pointlessly venting, or just making suggestions on a blog (no offense, PoP), do something.

    First, vote Phil Mendelson and Jim Graham out of office next month. Phil, in particular, would rather see innocents be shot dead on the streets then offend certain people by demanding real penalties for youthful offenders and gun criminals. The felony law cited above is almost always bartered down by the US Atty’s office for a misdemeanor – almost always for time served. We made some progress last year by doing away with the operablitity requirement, but Phil and his fellow travelers have made this city a shooting gallery filled to the brim with repeat gun offenders and reckless juveniles that face absolutely no consequences for their repeated violent and dangerous behaviors.

    Second, demand that the city and Congress finally follow the will of the people and remove the responsibility of local prosecution from the appointed (and unaccountable) US Atty. The city voted years ago (2003, I believe), to have an ELECTED, ACCOUNTABLE, local district attorney. Wanna know why so many cases are “no-papered”? Because the Asst. US Atty’s that work local cases are inexperienced climbers who are only practicing to move up the chain in the DOJ. We have a professional, well-respected LOCAL Public Defender Service (possibly the best in the nation), stocked with veteran defense lawyers to protect the rights of the accused. Why can’t the innocent citizens of DC have the same to protect their rights?? We need a professional, focused local prosecutor LIKE EVERY OTHER JURISDICTION IN THE NATION. Write your council member, write Holmes-Norton, write the President. Tell him you are sick of having serious local crime be nothing more than pre-school for wet-behind-the-ears Ivy League wannabe “lawyers”.

    Third, PAY ATTENTION to what the council does (or more likely) doesn’t do and DEMAND ACTION. Two years ago during the last rash of shootings I went to several meetings with Phil and Murial Bowser. We started to get somewhere with the then pending Omnibus Crime Bill, but then, the (few) of you who gave a crap failed to show up. Yoga classes and that last round at The Looking Glass were just too important. Pressure works – but it works best when there is more than one person (who has their own life to live) is applying it. The time it takes to post once on PoP you could write an e-mail to council and the mayor demanding that they re-examine the penalties for repeat gun possession and require that repeat offenders serve time, for example, instead of being loosed back on to the streets until they get gunned down or happen to get caught shooting someone. You could demand to know why council thinks releasing youthful offenders who have been accused or convicted of violent crime is a solution for them or for us. The youth “correction” program in DC is not just a joke, it’s NON-EXISTENT.

    Wake the hell up and act like the lives of your families depend on it — because they do.

    • +1

      As usual, Odentex says it better than anyone.

    • Dude, you need to back up some of that trash with some real facts. I think you’re oversimplifying big time. How have Phil Mendelson and Jim Graham performed insufficiently here? Seems to me they have served our city pretty darn well. What specifically would other do?

      Inner city problems are more complex than punishment. We lock up more people in this country for longer periods of time than any developed nation on earth. And we have higher crime. This is more complex, Dude. Way, way more complex. You stoking fires in the wrong places.

      We don’t know what happened here. Let’s try to find out before making sweeping, baseless claims.

      • Mike, this sounds like trolling on your part. . . .We that have been living in this area have endured murderous behaviour for years – YEARS!
        DYRS has failed in its rehabilitation or penalization obligations on every level. Mendelson and Graham have been placating the constituancy at large ala Marion Barry. The laws in place do not work and must be changed The leadership that refuses to acknowledge and correct this dysfunctional system must be changed. Quickly.
        My tax dollars should not be put to work setting a criminal free only to have him try to rob me and shoot my neighbors. In the past two years, there have been 3 bodies taken away from my block. All youth robberies or gang related.

    • Second Odentex. I myself am leaving. Best of luck to all!

  • First, vote Phil Mendelson and Jim Graham out of office next month.

    Are their opponents likely to be any better on this issue?

  • You armchair gumshoes are hilarious. Just by briefly perusing Neil’s page, its obvious he wasn’t a “thug” or “dope dealer”. God rest his soul and may the citizens of this town have the right to defend themselves one day.

    • Amen to that. I knew Neil since I was 14 years old, and he was in all the honors and AP classes with me and a core group of us at Norwalk High School. I challenge any of you jackasses that think Neil was on drugs or was an at risk person to go to Norwalk High in CT and interview his teachers from the classes he excelled in – AP Calculus, AP English, AP European History, AP Physics, his wrestling coach, and any/all of his classmates. They will all tell you he is one of the kindest people any of us has ever met.

    • “have the right to defend themselves one day.”

      What the hell are you talking about??

      Oh man this city is filled with ignorant reactive nincompoops.

      Chill. Be sad for this guy and his family. Look out after people in the neighborhood.

      But don’t make assumptions about things you just don’t know.

  • Rockcreek: Much like the Fenty/Gray question, I think the answer is the lesser of two evils. If Phil is pitched out (as he should be) it’d be pretty clear that he was sent packing for his pathetic (lack of) leadership on public safety. Clark Ray, or whomever else, would then have an object lesson on what happens when you continually neglect public safety to pander to a particular part of the electorate.

    A novel idea would be to ask the contenders if they also opposes common-sense reforms such as sending repeat gun offenders to jail rather back out on the street. Whether they will fight to get a locally-elected district attorney with a professional staff. Whether they will insist on providing funds for more MPD officers so there can be real community policing.

    There are many questions one could ask.

    The real key, of course, is for those who prefer not to have their friends and neighbors shot for $2 need to raise their voices a little higher than the lamentations of parents and grandparents who utterly and completely failed in their responsibilities to their children and society at large and now want nothing but sympathy for their criminal family members. Since those people manage to get their voices heard it’s no surprise that a coward like Mendelsohn bows and scrapes to their every whim to the detriment of honest taxpaying citizens.

    Of course, people can simply shrug and continue to allow criminals to set the agenda in wide swaths of this city. That’s been the most popular option since I’ve been here.

    Whether it’s Phil, Clark Ray, or Slappy White, if more than 3 people would show up at a meeting on neighborhood safety, or gather outside of city council to demand changes, that would make the real difference.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, this young man’s pointless death could lead to more than a handful of people giving a damn.

  • Do something about it.

    Councilmember Muriel Bowser
    mbowser@dccouncil.us
    Phone: 202-724-8052

  • Perhaps, just perhaps, this young man’s pointless death could lead to more than a handful of people giving a damn.

    Giving a damn and making a pointed stand about an issue just seems to be so utterly unproductive here that I’m very skeptical (utterly cynical, actually) that a vote in the Ward 1 race will make any meaningful difference.

    As w/poverty in the District, crime seems to be an issue that it will be left to market forces to address – gentrification will eventually bring crime down, we’ll offload our poor (and the working people that our service economy relies on) to PG and Charles Co., and the mayor at the time will take credit for “improving D.C.” But we still won’t have anything like functional social services or policing, even more of DC will become off limits except to the very affluent, and the effects of pandering to developers will continue to masquerade as work done on behalf of all citizens. Conscious, well-planned, good faith efforts at effective, ethical governance just seem to be beyond us.

    • Let’s say that I agree with that entire last paragraph. So put it all together, keeping in mind that last sentence. Why, then, is it so bad if more of the folks who rely on social services move to other jurisdictions? The District was/has been overwhelmed with a disproportionate, unsustainable share of that segment of the population for too long. In (liberal) theory, we might be approaching a point where needs no longer outstrip means. Reality, of course, is a stickier matter…

    • Rockcreek: Like I said, shrugging is the most popular option I’ve seen in DC. It’s easy to be cynical because it doesn’t demand any time, thought, or effort to make changes. Que sera sera. And I’m not just throwing stones here since after I failed to get anyone interested in doing something about the shootings 2 years ago I’m cynical about the residents of this city too. I highly suspect there will be a post on PoP tomorrow about a wine bar or something that will cause everyone to retreat once again into their collective bubble of ignorance about the chaos in this city.

      And I do know this: voting alone is utterly unproductive, calling the cops once and while is utterly unproductive, and putting up lights on corners is the epitome of being unproductive. As long as the small percentage of the population that causes these problems gets to call the shots it will never be resolved. Regardless of who sits on city council and in the mayor’s chair, they have the power to reign in the behavior of that small minority of repeat gun offenders and violent juvenile offenders by incapacitating them for reasonable periods of time instead of experimenting with their behavior in our neighborhoods.

      Until there is a critical mass of ALL people getting involved and demanding common-sense public safety reforms in this city nothing will change. And I’m sorry, but your belief about all of the problems moving to P.G. County, and then magically staying in P.G. County, is just that. We live in this city right now – not some future fictional city where P.G. County and SE are some sort of Balkanized Escape-From-New-York-style containment zone.

      The only thing standing between more resources and effort being put behind public safety is actual on-the-ground support for it. The politicians in DC are not blind – when only 3 people can manage to call, write, or attend a meeting on public safety they know they’re better off talking about summer jobs or how the mayor is too “arrogant”.

      Three people can be easily ignored (and we were). 300? 3000? 30,000? If there are enough people to demand reforms, it doesn’t matter who is on council or who is mayor.

      • with much bitching, you offer people getting involved as the solution.

        so, what do you propose we do once we do the unthinkable and wake up and care?

        i would respond more positively to positive actions we could do, than the rest of your soapboxing

  • This city is a joke. Amazing it wants to become a State, what a laugh that would be.

    Perhaps all the gentries need to form new sets of crews, complete with myspace pages and group photos, and then equip our white children with hangguns and ammo and start taking matters into our own hands! It certainly seems to an outsider that it’s perfectly legal for children in this town to have guns and use them to kill people, and of course have their identities hidden from the taxpayers and victims of this ongoing idiocy.

    If they are not going to form a violent youth offender registry, how about mandatory life in prison for adults who provide the weapons to all these child assasins running around in stolen cars packing heat. Oh right, they won’t do that because they are buddies with the elected officials in this town.

    • Given your apparent requisite criteria, statehood of Illinois, New York, California, Louisiana and Texas has been revoked.

  • Why, then, is it so bad if more of the folks who rely on social services move to other jurisdictions? The District was/has been overwhelmed with a disproportionate, unsustainable share of that segment of the population for too long.

    Because creating dumping grounds / de facto containment zones for the poor isn’t an effective way of dealing with poverty or the problems that it causes (from a purely practical standpoint – leaving aside any ethical concerns.)

    What’s happening does not seem to be a more even distribution of poor people across the region, but just their – slow, ongoing – wholesale displacement from DC. For those of us who have friends and family who live and work in neighboring jurisdictions, the offloading of DC’s
    criminals (along w/the many poor people who are, obviously, just trying to get by) isn’t really a source of comfort.

    Ultimately, this kind of shell game has to stop if we’re serious about reducing the number of incidents like the one described in this post. I don’t pretend that it’s possible to do away w/them altogether, but DC’s appalling laxity w/juvenile offenders, apparently worthless DYRS programs, and broken, degrading “safety net” (see, for example, the disgusting, soul-crushing family shelter at DC General) aren’t helping mitigate the conditions that make them happen.

    PG and Charles aren’t any better – passing the buck is just going to mean more problems and more danger a few miles away. It isn’t a solution.

    An important, related problem is the displacement of working people that the District’s economy is dependent on along w/the poor. Few people working minimum wage – or slightly above – service jobs are going to be able to afford to commute (even short distances, in some cases, given Metro fares.) This city just will not work as an enclave of the wealthy – we need real leadership to thrive, not the usual race/class bating, developer coddling, and crowing about phony, market-driven “progress.”

    • well-said! i agree totally!

    • Your last paragraph there is quite sensible and I find it agreeable, but you started that post with way more heart than head. After all, DC was the “dumping ground / de facto containment zone for the poor.” It is right that that should end, even in an inelegant manner.

      The idea that anyone here should care that some suburban areas are feeling more pain is…well, you are just making my point. I am not suggesting that gentrification is any kind of overall solution to crime, but why should anyone carry an unfair share of any particular burden?

      • Your last paragraph there is quite sensible and I find it agreeable, but you started that post with way more heart than head. After all, DC was the “dumping ground / de facto containment zone for the poor.”

        Right – and it has been an almost complete disaster as such, esp. in the early 90s. Merely shunting the poor to another, suburban location won’t be any different (have you been to Oxon Hill or Fort Washington lately?)

        My point here is that if we want fewer murders and fewer robberies as a *metro area*, we need criminal justice systems that punish juvenile crime seriously, and social services networks that work seriously to prevent it from happening in the first place. Right now we have neither, and a lot of tacit passing the buck.

        I work in PG, Brian, as do a lot of other folks who live in DC – offloading the pain vs. finally admitting that it has to be confronted in a meaningful way does most of us no real good.

        • No doubt. I’d say the difference between us now – on this – is only that you are more optimistic than I am.

          • Actually, I’m not even a little bit optimistic – I know that there’s just going to be a papering over of the problem w/gentrification, and no real progress in DC RE:
            policing or social services.

  • I have to say this Sherman Circle shooting is too close to home. When I first heard of it my initial reaction was, oh, no, probably a drug buy gone wrong, maybe a drunk guy weaving home, but it’s apparent this was an innocent, a man with a lot of potential, headed home by bike from work. He almost made it. This was three blocks from a school. People push their strollers here. It’s not acceptable. We MUST stand up to the punks in this town.

  • Petworth Neighbor: Punk Numero Uno is named Phil Mendelson.

  • For those who don’t follow the positions of city council and might think we’re just picking on poor Phil:

    http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/8002.html

  • Since you command such an audience POP why don’t you take the initiative to organize a candlelight vigil and a demand for better lighting in Sherman Circle, this could have easily been you coming back from Wonderland, Looking Glass, or a stroll around YOUR neighborhood. Use your public persona to rally the readers of this blog behind the cause and to show up in person in support, I think you would be surprised at the response and so would our council members.

    • saf

      Except, someone has already organized this (from the Petworth Yahoo Group):

      Dear Petworth Neighbors.

      Join us for a prayer vigil and moment of Silence for Neil Michael Godleski, a resident of the Petworth Neighborhood. Wednesday Night September 25th at 8:30 PM at the Kansas Avenue, NW and Sherman Circle, NW.

      On Sunday morning shortly after 1:30 AM, Neil Michael Godleski was on his way home from work. While in route it appears he encountered someone that attempted to rob him. Neil, 31 years of age, was shot and ultimately succumbed to his injuries. Neil Godleski was a student at Catholic University Of America and was gainfully employed.

      Join us at the scene as neighbors come together in unison to remember, to pray for safer streets and to encourage Neil’s killer to come forward and confess for this horrible crime. Law abiding citizens should not have to fear for their own safety when in route to work, church or while coming from the grocery store.

      We will join together in hopes of lifting our neighborhood to higher levels of peace and a better understanding of living and being compatible with one another.

      Candles will be provided.

      For additional information please contact:

      Keith Jarrell keith.k.jarrell@gmail.com 202-288-1867 Cell

      Or

      Damiana Astudillo damiana.astudillo@gmail.com

      • saf

        And this follow-up just arrived:

        I am so sorry for the error in the previously posted notice.
        The Candle Light vigil is for this Wednesday August 25th.

        I mistakenly inserted September in the first posting.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        I’ll be publicizing this vigil tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up, Saf.

        • Neil’s wake will also be that night; however, it will take place in Norwalk, CT with his family and friends. Thank you for those of you who put this together. Neil was a very special person who was loved by all. It is the reason why it is so difficult for us to come to terms with such a senseless crime. Fight back, don’t let criminals bully you into your houses. Remember that there is strength in numbers … unite as one and take back your neighborhood!

      • I’ll be there and I’m riding my bicycle. I encourage other cyclists in the neighborhood to do the same.

      • How do I get on the Petworth Yahoo Group?

  • bfinpetworth

    As a new Petworth resident in a house two blocks away from the crime scene, our Sunday morning dog walk to Sherman Circle was so disturbing. At the time we did not know what went down, but it was clear something serious, likely murder, occurred there during the night. The sun was just rising and three police vehicles encircled the Circle with police tape EVERYWHERE. It appeared that the crime scene covered nearly the entire circle and also across the street to the west side of the circle.

    I moved here from Burlington, Vermont and, believe it or not, we had our share of murder and violent crime there as well. Not the frequency of DC, but considering the population of 40k, it was enough to keep you on your toes. For the first two years we lived there, we barely locked our doors – until a horrible kidnap/rape/murder happened just down the street from us.

    I told my partner a few weeks ago (after the 4-person shooting near the Hitching Post) that I didn’t think we should walk the dogs after about 9 pm. She poo-pooed my thought. Now she agrees. How sad that we can’t take an evening stroll in our own neighborhood without fearing such activity. Or perhaps we should just take our chances, I don’t know.

    Anyway, I’m all onboard for taking some action on this issue. Lets get different people into office and write anyone who will listen about the problems with guns. And street lighting. And abandoned properties (thats another story). And rats. And friggin mosquitoes (wth – it feels like I live in the Amazon forest some nights on our front porch).

  • The main issue, and que sera sera mentality will continue to persist, as DC is a transient city. Most people here are from other areas, and end up moving after a few years. Finding people who want to settle in DC for the long-term and build a community are few and far between.

    As a result, there will NEVER be 300, or 30,000 voices at any meeting. At best, you will have 3 or maybe 4 people who make the effort and are serious about changing things for the better.

  • The main issue, and que sera sera mentality will continue to persist, as DC is a transient city. Most people here are from other areas, and end up moving after a few years. Finding people who want to settle in DC for the long-term and build a community are few and far between.

    There are many, many folks that have lived here for decades, and many of them have – at one time or another – been substantively involved in community issues. Outside of wonk / intern / college student circles, it’s a very different city. The “transient city” saw really only applies to a few specific demographics.

  • I knew Neil since I was 14 years old, and he was in all the honors and AP classes with me and a core group of us at Norwalk High School. I challenge anyone that thinks Neil was on drugs or was an at risk person to go to Norwalk High in CT and interview his teachers from the classes he excelled in – AP Calculus, AP English, AP European History, AP Physics, his wrestling coach, and any/all of his classmates. They will all tell you he is one of the kindest people any of us has ever met.

    • Sorry for your loss! We didn’t even know the guy, and this shit pisses us off.

      If this isn’t a perfect situation for a “ghost bike with dripping red paint” as protest to the crappy situation that is DC crime, nothing is! If WABA doesn’t put one up, I will!

  • For my last post on this, here is a perfect example of the problem this city is facing: the facts are easy enough to gather up from the DC Sentencing Commission report for 2010, MPD Arrest data, and DC Superior Court data.

    First fact being that even though there are approximately 50,000+/- arrests in DC each year (averaging 1000 a week) (see http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1239,q,561242,mpdcNav_GID,1523,mpdcNav,%7C.asp), only about 7000 of those cases end up being charged (1929 misdemeanors, 4937 felonies in 2009 – see http://www.dccourts.gov/dccourts/docs/DCC2009AnnualReport-StatisticalSummary.pdf#page=14 — note, “us misd” means Park Police or some other fed agency). So, less than one in five of the cases MPD brings in to the US Atty even manage to get charged? Either MPD is the WORST police agency in the world and can’t make a case or the unaccountable US Atty it taking a giant steaming crap in our collective faces. Beginning to see why we need a local DA that is elected and accountable to the citizens of DC?

    Second, of the 3,400 felony cases that do finally get sentenced, only 331 in 2010 were for guns. (see http://www.scdc.dc.gov/acs/frames.asp?doc=/acs/lib/acs/pdf/annual_report_2010.pdf – Page 19). This is in a city where MPD “recovers” 2000-2500 firearms a year and yet there are only 300 odd felony firearms cases (see http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1239,q,561242,mpdcNav_GID,1523,mpdcNav,%7C.asp).

    Really?

    So the sieve works like this:

    50K arrests, 2500 guns recovered = 331 gun cases.

    But wait, the best is yet to come. Of those 331 individuals, culled from the thousands, that were “bad” enough to get a felony rap for a firearm, how many do you think actually went to jail for a little while? 80%? 60%?

    Oh no, 35% actually got time (see http://www.scdc.dc.gov/acs/frames.asp?doc=/acs/lib/acs/pdf/annual_report_2010.pdf – page 20). So, about 115 people. In a city where a guy working a full time job and attending college can’t ride home without being shot off his bicycle, only 115 offenders were deemed dangerous enough by the US Atty and the Judges in DC to be take off the streets last year. Better yet, your chances of going to jail in DC are GREATER if you steal something (property crime gets you prison 52% of the time) or deal drugs.

    It’s not rocket science. Thousands waltz through a revolving door, year in, year out, and we sit on our hands not wanting to “offend” anyone and allow Phil Mendelson to set policies where 65% of convicted felony gun criminals walk the streets.

    • Yeah Man. Let’s double DC taxes so we’ll have the money to hire all the lawyers, police, and build the prisons to lock them all up. But since we don’t want to tax the rich people who provide all the jobs, we’ll just put a sales tax of food and section 8 housing to push and poor criminals out of the city. And due process? We don’t need that here. We’ll succeed from the union, pass a new constitution and make people guilty until proven innocent. Oh, wait…

      • Better still – Let’s cut services to the offenders. Being part of society is a privilege, not a right.

    • “only about 7000 of those cases end up being charged”

      Looking at the prosecution stats, many, many more cases end up getting charged. Why do you think that there were almost 43,000 cases up for some kind of disposition and that 28,000 of those received a disposition? The prosecution rate is far, far higher than what you’re claiming.

      ““us misd” means Park Police or some other fed agency”

      No, that means that the offense charged is a more ‘serious’ misdemeanor handled by the USAO as opposed to the OAG’s office. Do you really think that the various federal agencies charged 18,000 misdemeanors and that MPD charged 3,000? What that number means is that there were 18,000 cases charged under the USAO’s office for offenses like UCSA Possession, simple assault, etc. D.C. charges are usually traffic or disorderly charges.

      “Either MPD is the WORST police agency in the world and can’t make a case or the unaccountable US Atty it taking a giant steaming crap in our collective faces. Beginning to see why we need a local DA that is elected and accountable to the citizens of DC?”

      Or it means that you’re not reading the report right. From page 14 of the document you cited, I’m seeing that there were 43,000 cases brought, 26,000 of which were resolved through non-jury means, either by dismissal, deferred prosecution, diversion, etc., 1,100 were tried in bench trials, 470 in jury trials, and 15,000 of which were either deemed an inactive case or didn’t have a disposition by the end of the year. The clearance rate is 108%, which means that more cases were resolved than were added.

      Looking at the big cases (i.e. felony trials, mostly tried by the USAO), there were 446 felony trials, 276 of which ended up with convictions which by my math means a 61% conviction rate.

      “It’s not rocket science. Thousands waltz through a revolving door, year in, year out, and we sit on our hands not wanting to “offend” anyone and allow Phil Mendelson to set policies where 65% of convicted felony gun criminals walk the streets.”

      That I agree with; guys caught with guns are out quickly. What is needed is a mandatory pre-trial hold for CPWL and other firearms charges (i.e. you’re arrested with a gun, you sit in jail until the trial or for a specified period). At least if there was a hold, the offender would at least be sitting in jail for a few months pending a disposition in the case, which is often more than the sentence that he would get.

  • I am not surprised, evryone in the 20743 knows Anthony Barnes. Street Name is HollowPoint Tony. I am glad he is off the street, the dog fighting ring will be closed for good.

    • You better hope I don’t find you, I dare you to say some shit like that to his family or anyone who knew him.

  • I am a new PoP contributor but a long-time follower. I must admit that many of the comments on this site lack nuance. Crime in DC is a complex problem. Its roots lie in the lack of educational and economic opportunities faced by a large portion of DC’s population. New and transitional “gentrifiers” invariably only notice these problems once they erupt into random violence, and the solutions posed invariably ignore the root causes of the problem. We need more tough love. Enforce the laws with the aggression of your middle school gym teacher, while simultaneously and seriously working to improve the economic opportunities of those trapped in poverty. As mutually incompatible as these policies may seem, we need educational reform, affordable housing (YES! MORE of it!), serious job training programs, and tough enforcement of existing gun posession laws. I also agree with Odentex that one right step in this direction is to ensure that local crime enforcement is in fact local and accountable.

  • How about they just get the secret service to help protect these neighborhoods like they protect the president. I’m pretty sure nothing won’t happen with all the prorection they provide.

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