Stabbing at the National Zoo

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“Dear PoP,

Why did the zoo close early today?

there were a ton of people filing down into the woodley park metro earlier and a bunch of cops doing crowd control.”

@DCfireems tweeted (and I retweeted @PoPville):

“Update – 2900 blk Conn Av NW – MPD & National Zoo Police investigating

Update – stabbing – 2900 blk Connecticut av NW – EMS transporting – 1 teenage male – priority 1 – serious, potentially life-threatening”

NBCWashington reports:

They [MPD, DCFireems] found a teen stabbed in the chest, according to Fire and EMS. The teen was taken to Children’s National Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

As the zoo’s annual Easter Monday African-American Family Celebration ended at about 4 p.m., there was an altercation near the small mammal house on zoo grounds, and juveniles were removed from the property.

118 Comment

  • Jesus, why are people getting stabbed at the Zoo?

  • African American family day at the zoo. It was begun in the 60s (?) because blacks were excluded from the Easter egg roll. This is the second time that I know of where there has been violence at this zoo event.

  • ah

    The crowd control may or may not be related to the stabbing–the Monday after Easter has traditionally been African-American Family Day at the National Zoo. Those crowds are almost always large, especially when the weather is nice. I doubt they were fleeing the stabber by running into the Metro. Probably just going home.

  • On the eve of the DC Council-At-Large, we still have top contenders like Orange race baiting in Ward 8, instead of tackling the real issues of the disenfranchised, violent black youth in this city. You may not like the hipster bars on H St, but atleast the hipsters aren’t stabbing people at the zoo. Time to look in the mirror Chocolate City, instead of blaming all the white people for the problems.

  • A lot of kids are dropping out of school right about now, and stopping caring.

    Does the Million Man March still occur? It needs a resurgence. We need the fathers and we need them to be here and to care about their kids.

    • I know the guy who planted the seed of the idea for the million man march with a viral fax. Good man is he. Kid just got into Howard. He says “before you complain about them, you’ve got to march on yourselves.”

  • Been knew dis was gonna happen, just wiat for part 2 tonight.

  • I was just about to come on here and ask what was happening. I tried to walk home today up Connecticut avenue and it was utter chaos! I’d put out a warning to avoid Conn Ave today between Woodley and Cleveland Park. When I was walking by, there were kids running across the street at will, and large, rowdy groups taking up the entire sidewalk and not even bothering to make room for people trying to get by.

    Also, the street is trashed. It’s kind of sad to see a nice street like Connecticut Avenue so messed up.

  • Tweets say that all the escalators are out at Woodley Park and I keep finding tweets saying that it is dangerous there – can’t tell if there is some serious violence happening in the metro station or if they think it is dangerous to your health to have to walk up the escalator at Woodley Park? Either way, I’ll be finding another way to get home.

  • nbc news says that someone is in custody.

  • This is sad news to hear.

  • DC (and perhaps Prince George’s) has a youth civility crisis, no question about it. Group of 15 attack mobbing another kid, sounds like the Chicago beating that ended in death of a child. Is there really such built up anger, hostility, and disregard to proper social behavior in certain segments of our community of children that we really just can’t solve it?

  • This “event” spilled over to Gallery Place When I was leaving work about an hour ago it was completely out of control. Felt like I was at Freaknik or something. Apparently all the kids took to twitter to figure out where to reconvene, and Gallery Place was chosen.

    • I wonder if that was the mess taking place after work at Metro Center around 5:15/5:30. I was taking the train (orange line perhaps) towards New Carrolton and there were a TON of kids on the platform. People filed onto the train, the doors closed, then opened, kids pushed in….then this boy was being pulled at by cops, and his friends on the train were pulling him in. The next thing I know the cops were trying to get the kid off the train but the kids were pulling at him…fight broke out b/t the kid(s) and the cops. Batons and fists from the cops trying to get the kid off the train. We were delayed about 10 min.

      Mayhem, utter mayhem…

      • Terrible news. Making the cops spend time like this.

        A note to the racist:
        Badly behaved kids are related to economic conditions, lack of love or parenting, and lack of education. They are reflecting something in their upbringing. This is not so much about skin tones. Paris & London just before the turn of the century: hordes of homeless [white] orphans were in thieving pick-pocketing gangs. You would be scared to have a little cabal of them outside your shop.

        In my opinion there is a serious lack of love and parenting, and usually absent or “illegitimate” fathers.

        • And do you know what they did with those hordes of white orphan pick-pockets when they got out of hand? That’s not an option in this so-called caring and compassionate climate we live in.

    • I came out of the WSC in Gallery Place around 6:30 and was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. It looked like half the high school kids in DC were out on 7th St., as well as half the police force of the city. I tried to go into Ann Taylor but the doors were locked, despite there being a number of shoppers and employees inside the store. Not sure how I feel about them locking the doors during business hours because of the presence of a couple hundred black teenagers outside, but then again I would say that there was definitely an air of tension outside…

    • Question: Does anyone know the twitter tags and whatnot to “follow” these mobs?

  • i figure i’d do it… I blame Gray!!! Politik politik blah blah blah.

  • wow, what a surprise. A large gathering of blacks and a stabbing. I dont understand why anyone is surprised or shocked. Funny how this NEVER happens with a large group of whites.

    • No stabbings with large groups of white people? That’s because it only takes one or two two walk into a school or other assembly and shoot everybody up. Columbine, Congresswoman Giffords, etc.

    • * considers making reference to Holocaust *

      * realizes it’s a waste of time and leaves *

    • pathetic that this is your perception of this event.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Ed. Note: I wouldn’t normally have deleted bob’s racist bullshit but since 5 people responded it won’t make sense now.

      • Well it is not as racist as it is true. Most black people are willing to admit it. It is the whites and others that seem unwilling to admit the flaws in the black community.

    • You are disgustingly narrowminded – thanks for the comment so we can be reminded that this kind of ignorance is real.

    • Seriously?

      Grow a brain cell. Ugh.

  • If only hand-wringing alone could actually solve problems, boy oh boy we’d be squared away! But unfortunately, we have yet to appreciate the fact that as strategies go, that’s about as effective as trying to pray the problem away, or sing-along it away, or candlelight-vigil it away, or feelgood-march it away. If we as a community had the stones to take the hard, ugly, painful, meaningful steps to get these little animals under control, then perhaps articles like this might represent useful data points–but as long as we don’t, then how about just focusing all the reporting and commenting on puppies, tulips, and the silly things those zany tourists say?

    • what exactly are those “hard, ugly, painful, meaningful steps to get these little animals under control”?

      • It’ called “raising your children not to be animals” – think. Or, “Parentng” if your into the whole brevity thing.

        • oh, i thought Mister Fed Up was offering practical solutions.
          “parenting”, yeah, no shit. you get on that okay.

    • To his point…There are behaviors that need to be addressed. Society does not like it when you start telling them how to behave. Things like the upcoming “Littering ban, and “noise law enforcement” are going to make a difference in the conduct of neighbors (we hope) At the same time, maybe members in the community need to start holding each other accountable…dropping the dime on your neighbor takes stones…but it also makes a difference. Complacency has gotten DC to this point…the opposite will take us out. Our tolerance for our neighbors failing is not forgivable. If people want to see this city cleaned up, they will have to have the stones to clean it themselves.

    • Little animals?

      Maybe if we treated “little animals” like human beings, we’d have fewer problems. Casting aspersion on people, dehumanizing them, isn’t going to solve anything. Instead of bemoaning the hooligans on a blog, why don’t you go teach in a school in Southeast, or join Big Brothers Big Sisters, or something?

      Seriously. Platitudes about hard work and parenting don’t do any good. Action, on the other hand, does.

  • I was just about to remind this racist about Columbine. Not to mention most serial killers, mass murderers, child molesters, etc etc. Good thing us whites aren’t stabbing people in zoos. Grow a brain, Bob.

    • Actually, a lot of serial killers are black. Cleveland and LA serial killers were both black. Same for the beltway sniper. NYC just had one recently. Same can be said of the high rates of child abuse/molestation in the black community.

      • True, you hear more about white killers and child rapist because the victims are white and the news tends to under report black victimization. Whites do commit the majority of computer related predatory crimes though.

  • IT NEVER FAILS. The closet bigots have an excuse to come out and play every time PoP posts a story about violence in our city.

    Could we get back down to basics? An entire race did not go merrily and with knife in hand to the goddamn zoo! One of the wing-nuts amongst them did. Done.

  • A large crowd on a festival day will always have one or two stupid, violent, horrible individuals. The day after Easter in DC was traditionally a day off for servants (mostly black) who had worked through a holiday weekend.

    This tradgedy can be parsed out to a hundred factors – but can we please resist the ignorant urge to write it off as the maurading “others.”

  • Just curious…..have there ever been other shootings or stabbings at the zoo in the last 20 years? Curious.

  • a moe oyyyyyy the farmz was was deep as shit down there

  • hey PoP-

    do you ever get concerned/disappointed that anything you post on this blog having to do with race ignites a shit storm of hate and ignorance? it’s too bad to see an otherwise innocuous community blog become an outlet for anonymous racism. now, i’m not saying i see the world through rose colored glasses, but it’s troublesome just how often and how quickly people “go there” on this blog. a discussion? free speech? i just don’t know anymore…

    • I agree that this pattern is disturbing, but I think it is the norm of internet commenting, not the exception. I see a lot of anger on this site about the tiniest, least important topics you can imagine, from whether a new DC beer is any good to whether some address is in Lower Petworth or Upper Columbia Heights. It’s not about an otherwise nice community being racist, it’s about the syndrome of anonymous internet commenter hate regarding any and all subjects.

      Ignore the trolls. If you want to bang your head against the wall go comment on youtube and let off some steam.

    • A lot of people in this community share common concerns…and for them to speak their mind is not, in itself, a bad thing… If you disagree with them, you are equally free to say so. But to push their thoughts and feelings aside…will not make these people stop feeling the way they feel. We get it, you don’t like hearing that there is racial tension in DC…and we get it, you don’t think the perception of these contributers is meaningful to healthy discussion.
      But to deny that people who feel this way even exist…does nothing to help the situation. They give you the opportunity to disagree with them… to say “You are off base.” and perhaps most meaningfully, this gives you the opportunity to change their opinion. (People have been successful with this in the past)
      People in this city are brooding about or at least sensing societal strife. I would rather it be addressed boldly than not at all.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        I’m just curious – because I do believe a line can be crossed when commenting – I deleted a comment by one guy who called for forced sterilization which he actually called spaying and neutering black people. Do you think it was appropriate that I deleted that comment?

        • yes.
          calling for the the forced sterilization of a specific group of people is genocidal and DOES NOT add to discussion.

        • Yes…deleting overt racism makes sense, because it goes well outside of the scope of conversation that could be considered “Defensible Opinion”… If someone has “No excuse” for posting a certain type of comment…if their commentary isn’t defensible, or is totally inexcusable then delete delete delete. Strong opinions though (even if they aren’t pleasant can broaden the conversation in a meaningful way. Just my opinion.

        • I know it’s your blog and you’re free to do with it what you please, but you are often wildly inconsistent with what you delete and what you let slide.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            I actually agree with you. I know I am inconsistent and it bothers me that I am. Like I said I wrestle with this everyday and try to make this a good place to debate. I absolutely make mistakes. I’m glad we’re having this discussion to help guide with future contentious debates involving race.

          • Applause for the effort… All things get better over time.

        • Yes, *if* that were what the comment said. As the commenter in question, I’m surprised and disappointed at this departure from your usual thoughtful, careful moderating. Kindly afford me an opportunity to set straight the apparent misperceptions about where I’m coming from.

          First, I thought I was clear in my comments that race isn’t my concern and, further, that it’s impossible to meaningfully or actionably define a problem group along such non-granular criteria as race, ethnicity, or religion. Like the vast majority of your readers, I just don’t see a useful application for the binary us/them, white/black racism of some of the comments that invariably follow coverage of incidents like this. Where I do depart from what seems to be the mainstream sentiment is not over race but rather the idea that carrying forward the same weak, toothless, ineffective social policies that created a problem won’t magically turn around and solve it.

          Don’t get me wrong, no rational person would deny the overwhelming trends evident in the data about who’s committing all this violent behavior. But I’m also not such a simpleton as to think that this particular bunch of low-lifes are any more representative of the black community than juggalos are of the white community or MS-13 are of the latino community. (I would have thought that by 2011 all that would go without saying.) So my preference would be that any discussions about this particular cohort of low-lifes would stay focused on this particular cohort of low-lifes, so that the whole community can more readily unite around the issue in a collaborative and intelligent manner.

          Fortunately, there do exist some definable criteria that would be useful in targeting social policy and enforcement efforts: not melanin concentrations or income levels, but rather more meaningful factors such as parental engagement, participation in education, and conduct when in the public venue. But only when a majority of us have moved past the distracting red herring of skin color will we be able to focus our efforts on identifying specific, narrowly-defined problem groups (be they low-life thug kids, self-absorbed hipsters, aggressive drivers, or whatever) and then designing and implementing sustainable, effective solutions for when individuals opt out of their end of the social contract and put productive members of society in the position of having to defend the common peace and prosperity. So that’s where I’m coming from on that.

          Second, my comment absolutely did not call for forcibly sterilizing black people as you allege. I can’t even begin to guess where you came up with that. I acknowledge that my late-night dark humor—i.e., use of the term “spaying and neutering”—was perhaps careless, but the only thing “black and white” about my commentary was the text on the background. Let me be perfectly clear: I absolutely do advocate a social policy of providing folks with the material and financial support to encourage and enable family planning choices that are appropriate to their life situation, ranging from case-by-case (i.e., morning-after pill, abortion) to long-term (i.e., sterilization) approaches. And I absolutely do believe it is especially critical that such efforts aggressively target those youths and young adults of all races who are at the greatest risk of bringing into the world children that are unplanned, unaffordable, unwanted, and unlikely to be competently parented or adequately provided for. Such children exhibit a higher than average probability of experiencing undesirable outcomes and, almost inevitably, of imposing those outcomes on everyone else.

          Clearly a more proactive approach to this problem would be far more enlightened, responsible, cost-effective, and ultimately, humane than our current “benevolent dereliction” approach. Intelligent people may disagree about whether the social and economic costs of irresponsible reproductive decisions are sufficiently high that intervention is occasionally in the best interest of all concerned. This question has been addressed all the way up to the Supreme Court, and we certainly won’t answer it definitively here. But the question remains worth asking, and from my perspective I can assure you that in my worldview skin color is one factor that wouldn’t be germane to any such discussion.

          There you have it. Was I trying to be provocative? Absolutely, in the sense that I was trying to provoke folks to think about an aspect of this wicked problem that often is dismissed as “too hard” or “too unpleasant” to talk about. But that’s what blogs are supposed to be about, right? Hence my comment earlier in the same thread about the uselessness of hand-wringing and the need for tackling the real core issues. My apologies if the net effect didn’t turn out to be as graceful in execution as it was constructive in intent. (Although I do stick by my characterization of the bad eggs as “little animals,” as the behavior speaks for itself.)

          I really do appreciate the time and energy you devote to providing this forum to the community, and I know that you really try to be fair and even-handed when exercising your editorial prerogative. That said, while allegations of racism are all too often well-founded, it’s a disservice to assert them where exactly the opposite is plainly true, and to fail to take sufficient care to understand what a commenter is trying to say before wiping their input from the dialog. I didn’t want to post such an extensive essay as this in a sea of short comments—didn’t want to be long winded—but perhaps a few more words were in fact necessary to convey the totality of my point. Many thanks for your consideration and for the opportunity to comment.

          – Mister Fed Up

      • +1

        Although many of us disagree with what some people say, we have to acknowledge that they exist and include them in the dialogue for change to genuinely happen. In many European countries, race/racism remained undiscussed for years, and by ignoring its existence it has lead to greater strife(eg the riots of ’05).

  • i mean, statistically speaking, the racist is correct.

    i try to live a pretty balanced life free of any type of blind zeal and i have to say this whole “I’m not a racist” thing is destroying modern life. it’s going too far. people should be allowed to state the obvious without being called racists. call them out for stating the obvious instead (it WAS a pretty worthless comment in that we all knew it already).

    black children do commit most of the crime in DC. is it because they are black? no. am I surprised to be reading this? no. they are poor and have bad role models and no access to the economy and yadda yadda yadda. and i feel sorry for them and i want it to change.

    but no one is a racist for saying that blacks in this city, right now today, are more likely to participate in violent crime than whites. they are merely observant.

    bob didn’t call anyone dumb or inferior. he said a certain segment of our population is more likely to commit violent crime than another. just as a certain segment is more likely to use the bike share and another is more likely to support Barcelona FC.

    you don’t have to believe it; it’s like gravity. it’s just true.

  • Socioeconomic or not. We all have a right to walk down the street or go to a public place without the excpectation of being assaulted. The kids that did that didn’t even know the kid they stabbed. They robbed the 7-11. Who knows what happened on the Metro.
    Society should not have to raise these kids, but society definitely has to protect itself.

  • I’m surprised at the number of comments that have been deleted from this blog post. If you want to have a real conversation about race and violence in an effort to improve the city, you should let people have their say.

  • At the risk of stating the obvious, all black people do not commit crime and it is simply not factual to state otherwise. It’s actually damaging. Same goes for whites.

    But it is also true that there is an epidemic of violent crime in this city and these crimes are being committed by black youth. Everyone should be alarmed, but considering the history of this country, I do think that turning this trend around will not come from law enforcement, the court system, the social safety net or white people – it will come from the black community in recognition that the house is on fire.

    • But what/who can prompt that type of introspection? Why wait until a spate of terrible crime or full-scale violence? I want to point out though that the community-at-large CAN and SHOULD enforce social norms. Right now, problematic DC residents encourage each other to “let it all hang out”. The concept is that with freedom, NO ONE can tell you what to do or how to behave… In reality, We are all subject to a voluntary contract with society. We can be a part of the community and rise together…or folks can be apart from the community and travel a path of isolation and disenfranchisement. It IS a choice, it HAS to be a choice… If people are destined to be disenfranchised, born into it… than we as a community are failing. We need to make it clear that there is a place in DC for people who can respect their community and their neighbors. Kids need to see that there is a place for them in society if they stay the course. Most importantly, they need to realize that you are not sacrificing any aspect of your personal freedom by respecting the wishes of your neighbors and following the rules of authority.

    • sadly, that is not an obvious statement to many.

  • I was running through the zoo yesterday, wondering why it looked like such a mess… Seriously more trashed than I had ever seen it before… Garbage everywhere… I had to accost a group of kids who were throwing half full soda bottles into the waterfall. The response I got was a sheepish, “My bad!”

    • Good for you for saying something.

    • I’m surprised they didn’t respond by throwing the bottles at your head.

      I avoided the zoo like the plague yesterday. Maybe now that all of these kids went to the zoo once this year, they won’t come back until next year.

  • why should we be surprised? poverty breeds violence. none of this will stop until we address the poverty in DC.

    • If you mean the epic poverty of parenting, education, and culture, absolutely. But those poverties are only marginally related to economics. They are a lot more closely related to self-respect.

      • My dad grew up poor, black in west baltimore and it wasn’t like it is today. Its more than just poverty. Being poor and black ain’t nothing new. Something happen when drugs got involved. People stopped caring and the community was fractured. There was a day you acted like a fool and your neighbor would smack then tell your mom and she smacked. That was the end of the foolishness. We don’t have this the community is seperated by tribes looking out for their own interest despite the community being in everyone’s interest. Poverty is just one facet of the problem.

  • Poverty alone does not breed violence. Most first generations of Asian immigrants are poor, but also hard-working and law-abiding. Their kids then go to college and gradutate schools and become doctors and engineers, WITHOUT the help of affirmative actions (probably a bit reverse affirmative actions in places like UC Berkeley).

    • Exactly!

    • The ancestors of those first generation Asian and Latino immigrants weren’t abducted and forcefully brought to the U.S. as property, sold to the highest bidder, and kept in bondage and then “freed” only to suffer, for a century, the worst type of racism imaginable. That might be part of the reason why they aren’t perceived as prone to commit violence, as some people suggest impoverished African Americans are in DC.

      • Um, but that same community was HIGHLY socially functional and even upwardly mobile until two generations ago…so I can’t accept your logic.

        What’s the deal with that two generation shift? Crack epidemic?

      • I guess someone had to go there…someone had to pull out the good old “these kids’ ancestors were slaves and their parents and grand parents grew up in a racist world” defense for totally inexcusable behavior.

        Yeah, yeah. I know. These kids have it rough, and most of them are going to live short, crappy, unpleasant lives. Well you know what? I just don’t give a sh*t anymore. Either you’re a threat to my safety or you aren’t, and if you are I don’t care why you are. I should be able to walk down my street and feel safe, end of story.

      • Keep blaming the problems on the past and they’ll never get fixed in the future.

        I guess our ultra racist country/society will never have black politicians in any kind of powerful positions.

  • Excellent point – “the difference – their culture doesn’t prize dysfunction and violence.” There are many poor people in other parts of the world, including blacks and other races, that do not engage in mindless violence. It is more that irresponsibility, dysfunction, and violence are actually glorified at a certain level in this society.

  • There is so much that is tragic and sad about this whole event, and what it says about our culture as a whole.

    Given the special election today, it also reminds me of how Sekou Biddle’s campaign manager (and Kwame Brown’s father) made so many race-baiting comments, basically blaming white residents of DC for all of the ills of the black residents.

    The pols in DC will somehow find a way of blaming this on the more affluent residents of DC. I wonder what Barry has to say…

    • Just give it more time and DC will get even better. Having grown up in Maryland in the 70 and 80s, seeing what DC was in the late 80s and 90s, and now having lived in the city for 10 years, it has come a long way and there is a continued strong trend to drive out the stupidity that continues to infect some groups and quadrants. Unless the economy completely collapses and we’re all having to defend property from roving gangs seeking food, DC is going to continue to improve so that in 20 more years it will be a truly classy city on a more widespread scale (and in many ways already is; despite all the problems, it still remains one of the great cities of the world).

    • there is a BIG difference in employment in various wards of DC

      unemployment plays a part this. not the entire reason, but it is a part of it.

  • I live in NYC and DC. My neighborhood in NYC is much safer. Yet, the demographics are poorer and more minority in my NYC neighborhood. The only difference is that there are few blacks in my NYC neighborhood. So obviously it isn’t all about poverty.

  • Before we get into all of this racial stuff. Have you confirmed that a moneky or lion didn’t do the stabbings.

  • Not having heard about the stabbing, I was THIS close to taking my two toddlers to the zoo yesterday afternoon. Thank god I was too tired.

  • It’s mostly about culture. There’s nothing about being black that increases your tendency towards violence anymore that being white increases your tendency to be holier-than-thou, but there is something about being a poor black US citizen in the past 30 years that makes it likely that you live in a violent household and neighborhood. If you move to the western states, its poor latino kids who have the same issues.

    To me, it’s drugs and the drug wars. It pretends to offer an easy out to kids with poor adult supervision and role models at a point in their lives when they’re looking to define their manhood (with no useful men around). Honestly, we’ve been having the exact same conversation in DC for 25+ years. The only thing that’s changed is that it’s the grand kids now. The men from the previous generation are still nowhere to be found.

    Unfortunately, you can’t sit around and smoke a joint and complain about the violence. Your money is financing the violence. The problem is compounded by the DC Democratic party of the past 30 years which prioritizes jobs for votes over quality teachers and allows kids to have a slap on the wrist for any anti social behavior except murder. If the parents aren’t going to parent, then the state needs to parent. If that means locking a kid up for 5 years so he doesn’t harm himself and others, then that’s the unfortunate consequence of BOTH the black and white communities not doing the bare minimum.

    If the DC Democratic party put half the money it puts into adult services into useful school services (like quality teachers, quality meals, boarding schools, and alternative schools) we’d be able to save the next generation. But unfortunately, we get apologists, hand wringers and charlatans stealing money from budgets to pay for adults to under perform.

    • I smoke really good shit, the kids around the city can’t afford the stuff I get. Kryponite, purple haze the list would go on but I can’t remember them all.

    • Maybe it’s PC-ified to have a reasonable adult conversation, but no one said “whites” were in charge.

      On the other hand, the city council has 5 white males and a white female, none of which is particularly attuned towards law and order type politics or even clean elections.

      Phil Mendolson (white) is the softest person on crime that ever lived. He’d buy flowers for murderers as long as it wasn’t happening in his neighborhood.

  • Lot of crime here in NYC. Not so sure about the no tolerance stopping the blacks from killing up here.

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