Vigil for Neil Michael Godleski, Wed. 8:30pm at Sherman Circle/CM Bowser Working on Getting Lights for the Circle

Neil Michael Godleski

For those who inquired about a vigil for the student murdered at Sherman Circle this past Sat. night, following are the details:

Dear Petworth Neighbors:

Join us for a prayer vigil and moment of Silence for Neil Michael Godleski, a resident of the Petworth Neighborhood.

Day and Time: Wednesday Night August 25th at 8:30 PM
Place: Kansas Avenue, NW and Sherman Circle, NW.

Riding his bike home from a restaurant where he was working to pay his own way through college, Neil Michael Godleski, 31, was shot and killed shortly after 12:30am on Sunday morning near Sherman Circle NW. It appears he encountered someone that attempted to rob him.

Neil, was a student at Catholic University of America and worked at a restaurant in the Southwest waterfront. He loved languages and learned Portuguese and Polish and became a rafting guide in Maine and Massachusetts.

Join us at the scene as neighbors come together in unison to remember him and to pray for safer streets. 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 [email protected] 202-288-1867 Cell
Or Damiana Astudillo [email protected]

Wednesday Night August 25th at 8:30 PM
Kansas Avenue, NW and Sherman Circle, NW.

On a side note: Council Member Bowser just released a note about getting lights in Sherman Circle:

““Residents of Petworth have long complained that NPS grounds within Sherman Circle are potentially dangerous after dark because of the lack of lighting,” said Bowser. “All around the Circle are street lights but within the park grounds there are none. Lighting needs to be installed with great urgency.”

Today at 3 P.M., Bowser will meet at Sherman Circle with Delegate Holmes Norton, the District Department of Transportation, and officials from the Metropolitan Police Department. She has also advised the electric company to be ready to energize the Circle as soon as the federal government decides what to do.”

Full press release after the jump.

Early Sunday morning, Neil Michael Godleski, a 31 year-old Catholic University student, was shot and killed near Sherman Circle NW while riding his bicycle. To help prevent future tragedies, Councilmember Bowser has called upon the National Park Service (NPS), which controls Sherman Circle, to immediately install lights.

“Residents of Petworth have long complained that NPS grounds within Sherman Circle are potentially dangerous after dark because of the lack of lighting,” said Bowser. “All around the Circle are street lights but within the park grounds there are none. Lighting needs to be installed with great urgency.”

Today at 3 P.M., Bowser will meet at Sherman Circle with Delegate Holmes Norton, the District Department of Transportation, and officials from the Metropolitan Police Department. She has also advised the electric company to be ready to energize the Circle as soon as the federal government decides what to do.

Until NPS decides whether it will install lights, an MPD tower has been erected to secure the area and Councilmember Bowser and DDOT will explore opportunities to increase lighting on the park’s periphery.

“I don’t know if Sunday morning’s tragedy would have been prevented if the Circle had adequate lighting. But, I do know that installing lights, and doing so now, will provide safer passages for adjacent neighbors, bus riders, walkers, and bicyclists.”

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). MPD 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.

43 Comment

  • I realize this was a terrible tragedy, but at the same time, I have to ask: would this have garnered as much publicity and attention if this were a black or latino man who had been shot? History would suggest not.

    • Perhaps not but I think whats most disturbing is the fact that this was an outright attack on an innocent upstanding citizen. Most thug on thug crime doesnt get attention because its just a bunch of losers shooting each other and we are frankly better off without them. The face that this was a guy riding his bike home from a late shift to pay for his own college is what’s disturbing and it would have been just the same if he was black or tan.

    • So… does that make it ok.

      Your comment is outrageous and just plain gross.

    • Hey, I am his roommate. My friends and I have all talked about this issue as well. Most of us have refrained from talking to the media. Most of us, especially myself, feel that the reason they are talking about this is exactly that, and not because he just because he was a good person, or because its another senseless act of violence to happen to this community, city, country. He was a good person, as you can see on his friends of Neil Godleski page on fb. BUt some of us feel that the attention he is getting actually lessens those good qualities, and the fact that they are reporting this because he is a white person, cheapens the attention his murder has received. That said, we all appreciate the real people in the community and city that have reached out to us, and helped us organize different functions, like this vigil. The only way we can stop this from happening in the future is to continue to grow and bond as a community. I will get off my soap box now, thanks for the forum.

      • he’s not getting the attention because he’s white, he’s getting the attention because he is the innocent victim of a crime. his life taken for some quick cash. this does deserve our attention.

        • But it’s not like anyone even pays attention for more than five minutes anyway. For instance, back in the middle of June there was a horrifying hit and run at 13th and Quincy. It got a ton of “publicity” on the local blogs. But the driver wasn’t caught for the longest time…until a few days ago when the driver shows up at a local hospital full of bullets from a gang-related incident. It sounds like he’s going to live, so maybe the “publicity” can come back and we can get some community impact statements and be sure he goes directly from the hospital to prison, or maybe the “publicity” moment has passed and no one cares. How about it?

      • Crazy Pete – give me a shout if you need anything, breaks my heart to hear shit like this going down.

    • Don’t even start with that Bullshit. There was this one:

      There was the lady from Copi’s, there was Rufina Hernandez from the liquor store, there was the pizza store murder/robbery, the woman outside the Dunkin Donuts, the woman at the bus shelter at like 3rd and Florida, etc. etc. etc. Much attention was paid to each of those senseless murders.

      The difference is obviously between “Citizen gunned down by robbers for no reason” and “known gang member gunned down in known gang related violence.”

      History would suggest that you don’t know what the F*** you’re talking about.

      And its great to know that when a citizen trying to get home from work is shot dead by robbers, a lot of publicly = a few blog posts, a Washington Post squib, and the compulsory Fox 5 crime story.

  • bfinpetworth

    I’ve wondered the same thing. I’d like to think that what has garnered the attention is the fact that he was apparently an innocent rather than a crew-on-crew casualty, thus making all of us feel more vulnerable. I know on my block just two blocks south of the site of the incident, both the black and white people are dismayed by what went down.

  • DL — you are nothing more then a race baiter. Go crawl back in your hole.

    • I dont think there was anything wrong w/ DL’s comment…he has a valid point…the comment probably shouldve been saved for another time later down the road when lights are actually installed as a result of this crime. But yes his comment does have merit whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

      • I think the question is valid, but the answer is no it wouldn’t make a difference. If it was a rhetorical question, then the comment is wrong.

  • The incident with kid that got shot on H st getting on the bus got plenty of press, so I would argue yes it would.

  • It’s like when you see national coverage of an attractive child or woman who gets kidnapped or murder. Ugly children or girls don’t warrant the same coverage. Upstanding ‘civilian’ gets murdered is a story, impoverished street urchin is not, at least according to the media.

  • it’s easy to dismiss most of the violence in our neighborhood because of the gang and/or drug implications. The fact that this is resonating so much with us has nothing to do with his skin color, it has more to do with the fact that it seems completely random and scary as all heck.

  • Yes. The difference here, I think, is that this victim seems to have been a hardworking, outstanding young man. I would have felt the same way if he had been Black, Latino, Asian, etc.

  • Frankly, while some like to dismiss “thug on thug” violence, or whatever you want to call it, cheapening the value of any life in this town does none of us any good. What kind of a city would ignore people being shot down in the streets regardless of whether they are involved in criminal activity or not? Why is the continual threat and use of firearms somehow okay if the participants are involved in crime? I don’t think any of us really want to live in a city where that’s okay.

    And besides, if people are settling disputes with firearms on your street or in your alley it’s not as if the bullets will magically avoid you and yours. I know you all haven’t forgotten the little boy killed by stray bullets on Columbia Road last fall or the freshman walking home from high school in Clay Terrace who took one that wasn’t meant for him.

    I do hope that NPS does put in lights. Perhaps that might discourage someone from something.

    Condolences to this man’s family and friends.

    • I hope they don’t put in lights. What a lame solution, is that all Bowser can come up with? How about an active police bike patrol? How about zero tolerance for children with firearms? How about mandatory drug tests for all people on subsidized food and housing? How about enforcing RICO laws for RCC, 7th-N-Taylor, and Hilltop? Oh right, they’re the ones with the guns and political power in this hood.

    • The reason this (and Casa Morata, and other cases of innocents being murdered) gets more attention than “thug-on-thug” violence is that the thug-on-thug cases are rational. If you get involved in crime, you might get killed by other criminals, that’s something everyone understands. But if you don’t do anything wrong, you assume that nobody in that world has a beef with you.

      This murder suggests that even those of us who don’t get involved might become random targets for the thugs. That’s a huge difference.

  • Apparently, I was wrong in my judgment given the examples above, which is why I asked. I notice a lot of shootings reported that don’t get much attention at all, and I don’t think they are all gang on gang, or thug on thug crime. In any event, thanks to those with the equanimity and civility to answer the question. For those who felt compelled to toss out nothing but vitriol: if you can’t deal with a controversial question without flipping your lid, then I’m glad I don’t know you.

  • DL – I think your timing of the question reflects your ignorance. If you want to ponder race issues..wait a few DAYS or even weeks after the victim’s family and friend’s have time to mourn. Don’t be the first jackass to make an insensitive comment. Your controversial question was intended to stir up anger and outrage in the midst of grief. You respond with big words as if to prove yourself an intelligent being. Really..think about that being your brother and someone made a comment like that? Does race really matter?

    I’m pretty sure most of us reading this will do just fine not knowing you either.

    • + Thank you for writing this!

    • Of course race matters in this town. Come on. It’s not the kids of educated white people running around with guns and scaring the shit out of the community. I would venture to bet that none of the deceased’s closest friends ever committed murder and got away with it.

      The press should cover this story big time, if only to pressure Fenty, Gray, Mendelson, Graham, Bowser and the US Attorney’s Office to change the laws NOW that protect the status quo violent punk kid factory that is DC!

    • Big words? Oh, never mind, not worth it.

  • I am still so pissed off about this. Drove by there this evening, just a few flowers on a tree marking the spot. That evening, long before the killing I was in the same area with my kid, saw a strange looking tall light skinned man acting a bit strange lurking around, wonder if the police have any description of a suspect?

    Pisses me off the police know all sorts of things about members of these crews, kids released from DYRS, repeat violent offenders, and they and the community just seem to tolerate the on-going gun play like it’s ice cream and baseball. Fucking lame.

  • Let’s get all the mothers who have lost kids from gun violence in this town to stage some civil disobedience and block all the bridges in and out of town every day at 5pm until the city leaders make some real changes. I’m in!

    • Um – you are being facetious right?

      What you really mean is let’s get all those mothers to be home every day at 5 pm with the surviving kids, turn off the tv, spread out the books, feed them a decent meal, search their rooms for guns and keep their butts in school and off the street.

  • I’m deeply saddened by this sad loss of life in Petworth. My neighbor, a young man, 31 years old, a student at Catholic University with a job as well, was gunned down and his life snuffed out violently and needlessly for what ?

    I feel this tragedy with mixed emotions as I’m presently on vacation 900 miles and five states away, but if I were in Washington, I’d be at tomorrow’s planned vigil. My sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our friend and neighbor Neil Michael Godleski on his senseless and violent passing.

    It is very hard to accept.

    It’s far too easy to assign blame, or to somehow look to our elected politicians to change the violent lawlessness on the city streets of my hometown which just happens to be our nation’s capital.

    Like most problems in life, the solution lies right in the mirror, for we have only ourselves to blame. I’m a lifelong Washingtonian and in my more than 50 years in this same Ward have seen this tragic loss of life repeat itself time and again far too many times.

    I attribute it to a mindset that has been building for some time now, decades really, born after the World War II generation, come of age during the anti military hippie culture that grew up and came of age in the 1960’s like Hillary Clinton and her “It takes a village” creed now fully mature, manifested and metastasized within our culture and well part of our ruling class.

    On the front facade of The American Legion building on 16th & K Street, NW are inscribed the words, “God and Country”; -three words that used to mean something for soldiers and civilians alike, three words that used to be the mantra of our civics and social studies classes, of our noble history, a basis of American virtue and our American culture.

    Far too many of today’s generation of Americans, brought up in the modern day pop culture of television, and consumed daily with their on-line computers and mobile hand held remote gadgets, are graduates of an “enlightenment” education with a contrived revision of history (“Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln were enlightened secular humanists”) when we know well they were good learned men of conviction and faith, God fearing men who wrote about the Almighty all the time.

    It takes a village tolerates every errant behavior under the sun, except those that work 40 hours a week or more to better provide for his/her family and a better future; then you’re selfish.

    It is a culture that does not believe in punishment or jails, a collective culture that neither recognizes nor rewards the productive and the law-abiding. It is not civilized nor urbane at all, but a creed of sloth and deceit that relishes in lawlessness and disorder, endlessly promoting one protest or another, where individual choices in life are made for you by the collective because you are not capable of making them for yourself.

    It takes a village raises these criminals in a life by government ration.

    No, it doesn’t take a village.

    It takes good parents; two of them, one Father and one Mother;

    from an American culture that taught us virtue as American children growing up, “when your Mother’s not around, your teacher is you Mother; and when your Father’s not around, your policemen is your Father”. Not a village.

    No matter how good life is or can be, this is a mindset that sees unfairness and injustice in everything.

    They, together with the Rights of the Accused crowd they appoint to our judiciaries, defend the scofflaws, the criminals, and these barbarians. For them, their sympathy is endless.

    Lost in their guilt, passing judgement on everyone else, and seeking only what makes them feel good, the collective and the rights of the accused are more important to them than the victims: the man killed, or the woman raped, or stolen from in their home or place of work, and still more important than the family left behind.

    It is a collectivist mindset that empowers elitist central planners with dominion over all,
    -to govern us all in a life by government ration. It’s not spread the wealth, but spread the misery.

    It’s a despicable, vile, loathsome creed that believes in neither God nor country.

    To them environmentalism and equality is their religion, and any fidelity to country is remote and waning.

    They are not American citizens, but citizens of the world with this creed of sloth and deceit that seeks to undermine the very ground we live on.

    What’s sad, disappointing and truly illuminating is how this enlightenment wallows in failure in denial, is consumed in the torrid history of slavery, sees all of life through the prism of race, and immersed in guilt, is endlessly fault finding in our nation’s noble history finding inequality and injustice in everything under the sun and then seeks to remediate, not through strengthening our families, but by destroying them.

    -All the while professing to be so tolerant of other people, cultures, and all manner of errant human behavior and lawlessness, yet showing their true colors, so intolerant and hateful of Christians and our Judeo-Christian origins, and the very people, from William Bradford and his devout Mayflower followers in 1620, to the founding of our republic in 1776, to the present day, that worked, sacrificed, built and made this country from a vast wild frontier with people of every color, creed, race and religion.
    Down the street from me I know the fourth generation of a family that was recently born. None of them have ever worked or provided for themselves. There are no Fathers to speak of. Imagine if you will growing up an entire childhood through adolescence and through adulthood with no provider at the end of the dining room table, no Father or good example, where every meal, every subsistence of life is a government ration or handout. Why ?

    Because our modern day government allows the Mothers of these children the choice of taking government handouts over the Father of their children, and this cycle repeats itself generation after generation in our nation’s capital, with all this redistribution of wealth crap that we’ve been swallowing for nearly 50 years. Multiple generations of people with a huge false sense of entitlement that believes in this mindset that you need not provide for yourself and your own.

    We have continued this vicious cycle, to support and to vote for this mindset since Home Rule began, and in all these years there’s never been an alternative elected by a populace that refuses to look in the mirror.

    And what do we do ? We seek even more of the same with statehood and even more elected representatives of the same mindset who we shamelessly look to to solve our all problems.

    Really ?

    Let us dump this system of Home Rule that has failed us so miserably for nearly four decades. Hasn’t in been long enough ?

    Let’s return to the three stars on our flag, three commissioners, three gray haired old men and women, educated in public administration, appointed by the President of the United States to six year staggered terms with a apolitical administration of our federal city as we were doing well into our second century.

    It shouldn’t be so hard to govern a relatively small town of less than 600,000 inhabitants that just happens to be our nation’s capital.

    • Well ok – I really feel my “honor restored” after this!

    • bfinpetworth

      If you are going to spout off such strong opinions about this situation and its causes, you should at least put your name on it.

      BTW, “it takes a village” does not refer so much to the government; rather, it refers to neighborhood, people looking out for each other’s kids, helping neighbors out, providing a secure environment for children to grow up. It recognizes the “one father, one mother” model you espouse is unrealistic in today’s economy where both parents need to work to put food on the table.

      I live in the neighborhood too, and the people on my block are engaged with each other and look out for each other’s property and people. It does, indeed, take a village.

      Prayers for the victim and those that love him.

  • after reading the posts above, it further validates my disgust with the “educated” yet bigoted individuals living in this neighborhood.

    It is extreemly unfair, to both the deceased and to young people living in this neighborhood, to use this tragedy as a platform for making generalizations about a particular group of people.

    Sherman circle is extreemly DARK at night, i have gone on several late night runs and gotten wary when passing even around the lighted section. The lighting pales in comparison to the neighboring new hampshire avenue circle that illinois feeds into.

    As an employee at a school in our neighborhood school serving hundreds of children, 90% of young people in this neighborhood are used to being targeted daily and discriminated against for the bad decisions and actions of their contemporaries. Contrary to what many of you may think or decide to feed into, most young people living in this neighborhood come from good homes and are not involved in gangs.

    this is a senseless tragedy, more thsn likely comitted by someone that does not live in this neighborhood, but saw an opportunity to commit a crime in a space where a target could be easily made vulnerable

    • I’d say it’s more like 95% of the youth in the city aren’t part of the problem. But the 5% that are have been failed by DYRS and in turn either end up dead, in prison, or somehow magically right themselves. The current policies regarding youthful offenders does them and us no good at all. If a youth involved in violent activitiy isn’t properly handled we all pay the price.

      There has got to be some common sense between the far right and the current empty-headed leftist leadership that will not take responsibility for anything.

      Besides, despite all the panic, far many more violent crimes are perpatrated by adults. And there again, the city leaders take a hands-off approach.

  • dont discriminate against against all people within a demographic because of the highlighted actions of a few. That’s called profiling.

    And to the poster who singled out the lightskinned man who hangs out in that park, hes a vietnam vet with MS…

  • As a homeowner and single mother that has NEVER been on welfare, my fellow neighbors, PLEASE, get over your biases and actually talk to your neighbors that dont look like you, rather than make assumptions based on generalizations.

    The fact of the matter is that Sheman circle needs lighting. As EL Haynes recently began renovating the Clark Elementary property, and as sunset will be coming earlier in the evening pretty soon, i believe that Sherman circle should get comparable lighting to new hampshire for, at the very least, for the safety of the parents and children currently attending tne school in grades prek – 5.

  • This incident, and posts on comments on this post remind me of the Richard Price novel “Lush Life.”

  • If Neil were here today and heard you asked that question he would have been so mad. He once said that we are all equal, despite the colors of our skin, black white yellow brown red whatever. Safety should be provided to everyone in the community. It’s a tragedy that someone was just riding a bike home, after working so hard to pay off for school, and got shot. It’s not a tragedy because he is a white bicyclist!

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