Police Situation Closes Streets, Forces Building Evacuation Last Night at 1515 Ogden St NW in Columbia Heights

Lots of people have been inquiring what happened last night. A reader sends in the video above and writes:

“By the time it was 3:30am, several hours had already passed with the residents of 1515 ogden st nw displaced from their apartment building. not sure exactly what happened, as police were less than communicative. i saw about 100 people outside, sitting, standing, laying down, trying to put their children to sleep.

According to Sargent Boteler, there was a person in the building with guns, and the cops needed just 15 more minutes, and then the residents could go back in (after the cops got both the person and the guns out of the building).

I took these videos around 3:30. by the time i left, 30 minutes after Srgnt Boteler said “15 more minutes”, the people were still outside. i was one of the lucky ones, since i could access my home.”

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43 Comment

  • Comeletly agree with above poster! I live on Oak St and the relfecting blue lights from 14th gave me a clue something was up at 11 30 pm or so; when I walked down to 14th the cops I spoke to were total pricks and told me I stay away from the ‘swat’ team and that i d have to walk all teh way around the block to go home. eevntually they let me go back directely but what a bunch of useless shumcks, they don t do dick to stop kids on the corner from smoking weed and loitering and then one causes a problem they deploy half the force so they can all play commandoes. maybe the current cops should join the national guard adn we can get some that actually do community policing and involve the local residents rather than treating us like kids and pretending like they are in team seal 6.

    • Sorry, I’m “Anonymous” below and had to re-post. You were responding to my comment.

    • I was walking down to Giant when this happened and the cops were pretty chilled despite the situation despite all the guns and body armor. There were pretty useless though and wouldn’t provide any info. I think that kids smoking weed and loitering there are the least of the cops worry. If more people smoked weed we probably would have much less of these violent situations.

      • Except for all the people who are killed getting the drugs to your crib from central america and protecting the drug routes and cartels.

        Yeah, drugs totally result in less violence.

        • Central America? Check your head gear, new guy.

          Most of the quality cannabis in this area is grown locally or imported from medical marijuana states.

          Think of the logistics for a moment. Weed will grow pretty much anywhere, and it’s a lot more convenient to grow it in rural VA or MD than to import it from a foreign country thousands of miles away.

        • which is why the green that will grow out of the ground long after you’re dust should be LEGAL. you don’t see cartels for booze, now do you? during prohibition, perhaps…. and booze will KILL you. THC will not.

          • yes it is stupid to think the weed people smoke in DC is from central america. In fact, thats the most hilarious thing I’ve heard today. Canada and the whole BC bud movement along with half of the states decriminalizing/legalizing medical marijuana has caused the quality to go up as well as put an end to the dirty brick weed people used to smoke in middle school.

  • My house was in the taped-off zone and the cops said basically what the OP said, that there was someone locked-up in the building, who posed a significant threat. There one one Latin-looking police officer that was very courteous and respectful, which I appreciated, but the others were real dicks.

    If there’s something going down on your street it shouldn’t be a crime to ask what’s going on.

    I mean, the cops won’t break up a craps game-gone violent and they won’t stop guys from smoking weed or drinking on the middle of the street (in the exact spot where this incident went down) but they’ll scold law-abiding citizens for opening their front door.

    I think it’s time they figure out who’s part of the problem and who’s part of the solution.

    • If they’re in the middle of an operation, maybe your curiosity isn’t the most important thing in the world at the time. Stop being a dick and putting yourself first.

      Seriously, sign up for your PSA email list serve and find out about the incident afterwards.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        People I’m begging you – stop calling people names. You can leave your comment without saying “stop being a dick” and much worse insults. Stop insulting people personally. Comments like this (when I catch them) will be automatically deleted in the future. Thank you.

      • No worries, I should have clarified, they were NOT in an operation, the cops were standing around next to the tape chatting. If you were there you would have seen a dozen or so police officers scattered in groups not doing anything- I was hardly a disturbance.

        And actually, I do think its my business to know what’s going on. If there’s a bomb threat in the building next to me, if there’s an armed and dangerous man on the loose, or even if they say, “sorry we can’t comment but there’s an incident we’re trying to keep under control. There’s no risk.”

        This incident happened on a block and in a building with families, children, elderly and even sick people so it’s nice to know, or to be able to prepare if your life is in danger. I little bit of information and courtesy goes a long way.

  • Despite the shitty situation, the video is quite peaceful-seeming.

  • there seemed to be high speed car chase at around 1:30am around Grant Circle with a speeding car down Illinois- was this related?

  • At 3am, I asked a police officer what was going on. She said, “Do you live in that building?” I said no, I’m a neighbor, I live over there (and motioned towards my house). She said, “Then why do you need to know?” I said, I have neighbors who were kicked out of the building, and they werent told what was going on. She looked at me as if I was crazy.

    I said, what, you’re not going to tell me what’s up, to let me report back to them? She said, “No.” I asked for her name. She turned and walked away from me.

    Here’s my description of the “unwilling to give her name” police officer: an African American woman, dark complexion, about 5- 7″, a bit overweight, in a full DC police uniform.
    The conversation with her was attempted on Hertford Place around 3am.

  • Hey entitled people: let the police do their job.

    • what are we entitled to?

      • Good question. I meant to write it as “entitled” because the answer is nothing. Next time I’ll go with something more succinct like “self-important whiners”.

        • i would think that we are entitled to know what the police are doing in our neighborhoods.
          you don’t?

          you don’t think people are entitled to anything? you should search your soul. maybe seek therapy. that’s a very sad state to be in.

          • In this particular situation, I think those who live in the affected building were entitled to the information while others in the neighborhood could certainly have waited until the situation was resolved. I’d much prefer that the police are focused on the situation at hand rather than answering questions from every curious passer-by.

            If an officer at the scene was seen talking to people on the street instead of paying attention to what was going on, someone on here would have been complaining that they weren’t doing their job and would be describing the officer.

            Therapy and soul searching? That seems a bit extreme. But okay then.

          • +1 Seriously. If one of the cops was told they didn’t deserve to know what had was going down in his/her own neighborhood, they would definitely be bothered. If the cop is too busy/occupied too respond, they need to indicate that, rather than respond with sarcasm.

            We all want to know what goes on in our neighborhoods, so we can act to preserve our own safety. Concern is a *good* value to have in this case.

          • Tres: you can wait until the incident is over and get the information from a list serve. If you were in danger, you’d have been moved away.

          • Anon: officers should be responsive to community members, for a multitude of *obvious* reasons. If they can’t speak at the moment, they should indicate so. It takes as much effort to say, “I’m sorry I don’t have time to discuss this, please stay a safe distance away” as it does to give attitude to a concerned citizen.

            In the latter case, the officer escalates a conversation into a situation where the citizen is asking for their badge number — whether or not the officer is indeed busily occupied. This prolongs the period of time where they are distracted from their job. Sarcasm has no benefit here.

            In the former case, the citizen quickly moves on. You tell me which is a better response, but I think it’s pretty clear.

            The idea you have that citizens should in no case be able to approach officers and ask what’s going on is ridiculous.

          • If you live on that block you know there’s the potential for drugs, robbery, murder, just about anything.
            If there’s a bomb threat, I want to know so I can leave out my back alley or if there’s a murderer on the loose i’d like to text my roommate to take a cab home.

            How hard is it to keep your stakeholders involved?

          • Do the police chat with bystanders in other cities? In my (limited) experience, no policeman or policewoman will give out any information at all. I’m sure it’s part of police training–not to get into exchanges with bystanders.

            As stated, if you were unsafe, they’d tell you (loudly and directly, I’m sure). Otherwise, curiosity can wait until morning.

    • Entitled? I’m fairly certain my taxes pay for that service – its not an entitlement when you’re paying for it.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I’ve since found out that there was a man threatening people with a knife in the lobby. He was ultimately arrested without incident.

    The incident is being looked at to make sure communication is better disseminated in incidents like this.

  • “Hey entitled people: let the police do their job.”

    hey, REALLY?, don’t you have any empathy? or are you fine about coming home to your street and finding 100+ people all outside, several of them sprawled out on stairs, sidewalks, and the street? at first glance, i thought there was a shooting again, as the scene looked like they were shot.

    it’s easy and conveniently cool to call someone “entitled”. are you simply trying to appear hipper than others? more politically “wow”? i have lived long enough, and seen enough shit throughout 5 continents to realize that when something seems wrong, it usually is. and yeah, i act on it. call me entitled – i see it more as being a citizen of the world, and not just insular.

    don’t turn the focus of this away from what it really is – unacceptable communication from the dc police force. it’s unfortunate something went wrong; it’s ABYSMAL how the police dealt with the residents of that apartment building.

    and to Anon – the video IS quite “peaceful-seeming” – yes, you’re right.
    the residents had been out there for 3 or 4 hours when i shot it. many of them may not have wanted to become vocal for several reasons that i can imagine. and most seemed exhausted… after all it was three in the morning.

  • perhaps i left out the fact that i asked several people what was going on. and NONE of them knew. they were very frustrated.

    i was definitely curious myself (is THAT being a whiner? wow…) but actually, at that point, i was asking wtf was going on for THEIR sake. once i got some sort of answer, i passed it on to them – and many seemed grateful to have some sort of information.

    gosh, REALLY?, i kinda hope you are not my neighbor. it would suck if something went wrong for me, my family, or my house – and you just passed by, for fear of seeming entitled, or like a whiner.

  • You’re in luck. I’m not your neighbor.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Links that people can look at for info in this area:




  • I live on Ogden, near the intersection of Oak, well away from the incident. At around 11:30 pm I opened the front door of my building to walk my dog, and was immediately greeted by two cops yelling at me to get back into my building. I responded that I live here and I need to let my dog go to the bathroom before I go to bed, but they kept yelling at me to go inside. When I asked what was going on, they refused to tell me, except that one cop told me “if you value your life, then you will go inside.” Unbelievable, as it was clear there was no danger at all in the vicinity. I told them to give me one minute in front of my building so my dog could pee, and they both started to get really aggressive, approaching me and yelling loudly to go inside. Extremely rude and unpleasant.

  • Localyokal needs to learn how to spell. Jesus.

  • I think if I was a cop, I’d also tell the neighbors to get away and leave me alone. I don’t know if this person asking me questions knows the suspect inside and any information I give them he could possibly relay to them (phone call, text message). Also, what if some innocent bystander gets shot because they didn’t heed the cops warning to stay away? Lawsuit just waiting to happen. Too many unknowns in the situation to have some people just walking around and gawking at the police activity.

    I just don’t get it, it must suck to be a cop sometimes. Lousy working conditions and zero appreciation from the people you’re trying to protect.

    • As someone above points out, it probably takes as much time to give an attitude to inquiring neighbors as it does to politely advise people that they can’t release any information and to avoid the area.

  • I have lived on Ogden St. for over 10 years and no longer speak to policemen because I am sick and tired of being treated as if I were dirt (I happen to be a highly educated, white, professional so I can only imagine how they treat African Americans and Latinos). I am always courteous, yet the responses I have gotten include either ignoring me, refusing to answer my questions, or outright insults. I have also personally seen a policeman buy drugs from a car outside my house. It is very sad when the police do not know how to interact with residents of a community.

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