Anyone Hear A Child Yelling for Help in Columbia Heights Last Night?

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“Dear PoP,

I live on Euclid b/t 14th & 15th, and I was awakened from a dead sleep last night at 11:06pm by a child running down the street screaming for help. This was not a kid messing around, this was full-on panicked screaming, “Help, help, somebody help me please!” And this sounded like a young child, like somewhere between 8-12 years old. I ran down the stairs, and was about to go outside in my bare feet, but my husband grabbed his shoes and said he’d go check it out. We are 3 flights up, and by the time he made it down to the street, the child was nowhere to be seen and he couldn’t hear the screaming anymore.

There’s usually a fair amount of traffic (foot and car) on our street at this time of night, so I’m hoping someone was able to help this kid. I kept waiting to hear sirens, like those following the shooting on the 19th on Fuller Street, but never heard a thing. I’m just wondering if anyone else has reported hearing this or if anyone in the neighborhood heard/saw anything? I’m not sure where else to look to find out what happened, I’ve been checking for police reports, but my imagination is killing me with scenarios of what happened…”

Do any neighbors happen to know what happened? I’ll see if MPD received any reports.

31 Comment

  • I was walking my dog when this happened. We saw the child in question. His mom and sister were walking in front of him and he felt like he was being abandoned. He was not in danger, just 4 years old, way past his bedtime and a little scared that his mom didn’t feel like carrying home.

    Seriously—no danger or worries there. Just a mom that needs to have her toddler in bed before 11pm.

    • Hi, I sent the post to PoP. THANK. GOD. I was up half the night worrying about this kid. I really hoped it was something this benign (well, as benign as it is to have your toddler up this late). Timothy, thank you for setting my mind at ease.

      • I guess a 4-year-old doesn’t know any better, but why do people let their kids scream like that in non-dangerous situations? The kids in my neighborhood do it constantly; if they were being raped or stabbed to death I’d have no idea.

  • Not trying to drive down POP traffic, but the OP for this piece should sign up for the MPD3D listserve ( where questions like this can get answered sometimes more quickly and you can also email the 3D Commander Jacob Kishter ([email protected])

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Generally good advice, but for a question like this where it is doubtful MDP was involved, that was quickly answered in 15 minutes by a neighbor, I don’t think is too bad either.

    • even better would be organizing a neighborhood watch.

    • I second that. I’m on the 4D list serv and it’s been pretty informative and helpful. Not just about crimes, but general alerts, announcements and events in the area.

  • or the OP should call 911 at the time of the incident and let them sort it out. that is what they are there for.

  • Agee. Call 911. Even without an exact address, you could give the last known location and direction.

    • saf

      And IME, the operator will refuse to take a report until you give an exact address.

      • And IME, wrong.

      • That’s not true. The dispatcher who answers the call will stay on the phone with the caller while the second dispatchers sends the police. The first dispatcher will take your information, even as it changes (as the child runs down the block) and relay it to the police.

        You can still be giving information to the police as they are on the scene.

        A lot of people don’t know how 911 works. Educate yourselves.

        • saf

          I have had plenty of them refuse to send cops as they can’t take an intersection as an address, can’t cope with the idea that someone is heading west (or east or north or south)

          I know damn well how it works, and how it is supposed to work. Not the same thing.

  • Sweet merciful zeus, WHY do so many parents have their littles out in the middle of the night? Nothing makes me sadder than seeing a child slumped whimpering in his stroller at 10pm while his parent stands around the entrance to target with her friends, smoking and shrieking obscenities.

    • Sometimes, people–often the working poor—work late cleaning our offices, washing the dishes at the restaurants where we eat, etc. They can’t afford a sitter and may have to drop the kids at the friends’ house till they get off at 11 or so. You never know the situation. But a lot of folks, especially in this economy, don’t get to enjoy our middle-class schedules.

      • Do you think I’m too stupid to tell the difference between a poor-but-consciencious parent rushing her kids home after the late shift (this describes half my neighbors), and someone who just doesn’t want to cut her own fun short to deal with the sometimes-tedious needs of a small child?

        “You never know the situation”… what a lame, brainless cop-out.

        • Oh, my bad. Didn’t you know you knew this woman’s situation and that of everyone else. You sound pretty valuable and should consider a job with the guvment weeding out those unbearable feriners.

      • The hours this parent may or may not be working have nothing to do with the fact that she wasn’t tending to her child and was allowing him to scream as though he was in danger at 11pm.

      • while that may be true in some situations, i think it may be cultural as well. many latinos keep their children out late. i was in argentina last year and toddlers were out with their parents at 10, 11, even 12:00 at night! i asked a latino friend of mine and she agrees that that’s just how they do it.

  • I think it was Jim Graham, sleepwalking while have a nightmare about being attacked by a giant jumbo slice.

  • the kids in my neighborhood scream bloody murder when they’re just running around playing. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day what I thought were the sounds of a game of hide-and-seek was in actuality a child being slowly dismembered with a spork.

  • Don’t know the exact address is a total cop out. Give your address and say in that vicinity. I mean you were concerned enough to run outside but didn’t call 911. Give me a break. This post was all about your guilty conscience apparently. I have called 911 for a person laying in the middle of the street before. Gave corner of this and that and they showed up. You really think the operator will refuse to dispatch MPD for a child potentially in danger???

  • As a parent I can tell you that at anytime of the day a little one can and will say the craziest things. My best friend’s daughter yelled “help” fir weeks when she was just 3. It takes a while to teach children these lessons.

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