Rest in Peace Neil Michael Godleski

It was amazing to see the community come together last night for Neil Godleski’s vigil in Sherman Circle. I don’t think I describe how sad the evening was. It gives the term a ‘senseless death’ a whole new meaning to me. There were so many recollections of Neil’s life and nearly every single speaker mentioned how he never judged anyone and welcomed all he encountered. I never had the good fortune to meet Neil but I couldn’t help but get choked up hearing these stories. I don’t think it’s fair to say, I hope something good comes out of this tragedy like lighting in Sherman Circle. I do hope Sherman Circle gets lighting. And I’m glad the community came together to mourn during the tragedy. But I can’t help but think unless our community including our elected leaders come together outside of times of tragedy this will not be our last vigil.

Rest in Peace Neil Michael Godleski you moved many and shook a community and at the end of the day those who knew you well, remembered you not only with tears but also smiles.

17 Comment

  • The vigil was so emotionally draining. I didn’t know Neil but I went as a neighbor to Sherman Circle. People had nothing but the most amazing things to say about Neil. At one point, I was crying and my nose was freely running, I didn’t think to bring tissues. I only wish that a podium/mic had been set up so that we could’ve heard everyone who spoke. I do hope this can bring the community together and at least get lighting in Sherman Circle. It was startling to see how dark it is in there.

  • Im new to the neighborhood and while in the vigil, I asked to myself, there r security issues that need to be addressed. many young guys hanging out at the exit of the Georgia metro, seeing an oportunitiy to stole or dismantle bikes, the liquor store by the bank of America. the strip club by a charter school in the same area, full of drunks and bums? the strip club across the popeyes? I can tell that most of the area is a residential neighborhood, can those businesses permits be revoked? Just thinking.

    • Who do you think you are? Those businesses regardless if they fit into your stringent code of ethics or morality have been around FAR longer than your recently transplanted self. There could be a Gummi Bear Depot on that corner and crime would still continue.

      Having said that. Rest in Peace Neil.

      • Jason, who do you think you are!?!? Just because you have lived here for a long time does not give you the right to participate in or accept a lawless and dangerous DC. Just because you are new to the area, it does not mean you cannot question the status quo of crime, fear, and hopelessness.

        I am so tired of the old vs. new debate. We all want safety and freedom to live our lives without fear, no matter when you moved here. If you lived here for 30 years and have come to accept the crime in your neighborhood – then why stand in the way of the new generation coming in trying to make the city better?

        Jason – could you imagine how the real “old-timers” must have felt like when they were run out in 1968 by the riots? The new folks that moved in then successfully ushered in decades of despair, crime, and a truly dark period for Washington D.C. that is just now having rays of hope being shined back onto it. Setbacks like the cold-blooded murder of Neil are terrible, but ‘new’ people like’Dux’ need to continue to question the establishment and look for ways to make DC a better place.

        Your memory is so short, my friend, we are all deserve a better and safer D.C. no matter when you moved here.

        R.I.P. Neil

      • Honestly, I was expresing my concerns, I didn’t want to ofend anyone, and it’s not morality what makes me write why I wrote, I have a room-mate a year younger than Neil, that rides his bike every other nite in his way back from working at a restaurant who now is in fear. you just need to read this same blog two years back to date to understand how prostitution, robery and murder activity are a constant in our comunity, being blind or complacent will keep us in the same hole and digging.

      • Who do I think that I am?

        To start, I’m a tax paying, law abiding resident of the District of Columbia. And I vote!

        So, I do believe, I have the right, as do you, to voice my opinion.

        Having said that, I think \The House\ should do all stakeholders a favor by relocating to Prince George’s County, Maryland. The majority of their patrons’ would thus have a greatly reduced commute! And we’d have eased parking, less Marylanders driving drunk through the community, and significantly less people doing \all things not spoken of in polite company\ in the surrounding alleyways!

        Moreover, I’d trade six of those liquor stores for a Central Union Mission. Let’s export the vice and import means of virtue and hope!

  • IF NPS doesn’t have the funding, why doesn’t the city fill the gap? I mean, it is the city’s residents/constituents at risk. Not NPS.

    • Legally, I don’t think the city can put up lights there if its federal property nor should they be required to pay for it. Can’t this come out of some general maintenance pot of money from NPS? It couldn’t cost more then a couple thousand dollars.

      • What about rolling in the portable lights in the interim? If they are parked on the street they can be controlled by the city.

  • The park needs to be closed after sunset. If NPS will not fund lighting, perhaps they can fund signs warning about trespassing. I’m sure breaking federal laws will outweigh anything the District will do.
    Park officers can be kept in the area until such funding can be appropriated. The officers are already paid for.
    It’s not like there are kids skateboarding or spray painting. People are being killed.
    This can’t go on any longer.

  • Did anyone hear what Fenty or the police had to say last night? I couldn’t stick around that long.

    • As I recall, Fenty and the police commander said that they do have good, promising leads and that this case is their highest priority. The lighting issue, it was said, is indeed a NPS issue, so it really is not in their hands. However, Fenty did say he’s brought it to their attention (just in case a senseless, seemingly-random homicide hadn’t already brought it to their attention).

      Fenty also said he knew the victim and had met him a number of times; his campaign manager was one of Godleski’s roommates and was on a flight to Connecticut for the funeral. Small world.

  • Lights at the Circle would help, but they aren’t going to solve the problems. What’s so weird for me is that when I bike home down Kansas, coming toward the Circle, I’m watching out to not get hit by one of the crazy drivers who consistently run the stop sign at Kansas and Buchanan. Until the other day, it never occurred to me to watch out for crazy people with guns, trying to shoot neighbors who are riding home.

    That said, I do occasionally take my dogs to the Circle at night, and as long as there are other people there (which is frequent), I feel pretty safe.

    There’s no way to “close” the Circle, and keeping people out of there at night will just make the problems worse.

    I was glad to see such an awesome turnout last night at the vigil.

  • The vigil was extremely moving. I’ve known Neil for a couple of years now, but I did not realize that he’d touched so many lives in such a positive way. I just knew him as fun-loving, always smiling, friendly, happy-go-lucky Neil. The world definitely lost a good one.

    I really hope that these leads Fenty spoke of ultimately bring the killer to justice. It won’t bring Neil back, but at least the person who took him from us won’t be on the streets.

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