Man Shot at, Robbed on/near Metropolitan Branch Trail

Unfortunately another disturbing crime on the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT). A reader sends a report from the MBT Yahoo group:

“From Commander Solberg (via ANC Commissioner Tim Clark) last night:

It appears to be a robbery involving three suspects. A shot was fired at the victim, and he was grazed but thankfully not seriously injured. It happened at 3rd and T Sts. about 6:15.

We have not made any arrests.”

Subsequent messages are unclear as to whether the actual incident took place on the trail or at 3rd and T St, NE.


On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, at approximately 6:15 pm, an area resident was walking on the Metropolitan Branch Bike Trail in the area of 3rd & R Street, Northeast, when he was accosted by three individuals. One subject produced a weapon and demanded the victim’s possessions. After complying and without provocation, the victim was punched in the face. The victim then attempted to flee from the scene and sustained a graze gunshot wound to the hip area after the suspect fired his weapon.

All three suspects then fled on foot. The victim received treatment for his injuries and an area hospital. The Metropolitan Police Department continues its investigation into the identity of these three individuals.

To ensure this area remains safe for all, the bike trail will be monitored and patrolled by officers on a regular basis.

Capt. Jeff Brown

30 Comment

  • dammit as much as I’m grateful for an off-road route to Silver Spring that trail is so poorly designed. It’s so isolated from the neighborhoods. No wonder it’s a magnet for crime. People are afraid to use it. I’m thinking of doing a bike commute from downtown DC up to Silver Spring partly using this trail but I have serious hesitations about that considering how much crime happens on it. I’m an avid cyclist and a big supporter of bike trails but when they’re poorly designed as this one is I think it actually does more harm than good to the cause.

    • I ride the trail every day — in the morning. Agree with the isolation so avoid it after dark. The worst part is the corner by the transfer station north of Catholic U.

      But I disagree about location. Part of the appeal of the trail is that it’s a clean run with no stops. That’s only possible because it’s away from the neighborhoods on a right of way. There are real advantages to no-cars, no stop signs. In that sense the trail is very well designed. I almost feel that I’m taking a bigger risk biking north along 7th St. and Georgia avenue. Cars can do more harm than muggers to a cyclist.

      I don’t think we should have to give up those advantages just because of fear of crime. Getting people to use it is part of the solution, as is the police presence. Hopefully we can get there.

    • It really isn’t fair to blame the design of the trail, for what is so very obviously a social/crime problem.

  • Shot trying to flee?? What the F?

  • WHAT. forget the robbery and punch. we’re talking attempted murder here. motherf$%$%^$^

  • wow…. what cowards. Shooting at someone’s back, much less after a 100% comply and punch to the face. I know it’s “cruel & unusual punishment” but there should be a place where we law abiding tax payers can go to beat the pulp out of those convicted of these assaults. I’d pay $100 for 10min & Post it on YouTube 🙂 It should come with a photo like when you ride on the Washington Spirit.

  • My guess….gangs of Amish youth.

    • Wow, I didn’t realize there was a large Amish population in NE DC.

    • My guess: criminality isn’t genetically encoded in any particular ethnicity. But certain ethnicities have definitely been targeted for socio-economic disenfranchisement and trapped in a hopeless underclass — for centuries, intentionally, and, for only the past few decades, perhaps less intentionally.

      • And yet so many other ethnicities have been the target of that very same socio-economic disenfranchisement, and instead of resorting to violence, worked hard, overcame their obstacles, and now enjoy positions of success and influence. Stop making excuses.

  • Ride the trail every morning… after the series of tazing, there actually used to be a cop that would ride down the train on a motorcycle. Did that for about a month and stopped. Now the riff raff is actuing up again. I constantly have to split kids that refuse to move, see people on the train tracks on the other side of the fence. People sleeeping on the nice benches they installed… and the GARBAGE is atrocious. I keep a ball pein hammer velcroed to my bike frame but avoid the trail at night. It is way to dimmly lit, almost perfectly lit for an assault. The police don’t need to park their car on the trail, like i have seen, but just keep it part of their route to keep the trail safe. But I will continue to ride it everyday

  • So they stopped monitoring after things got quiet and the thugs moved back in. Way to go MPD…

    • So true. MPD has stepped up by putting police cars at the NoMa metro stop and having bike cops there. But, instead of riding/walking the trail, they usually just go inside the Mariott to watch TV for hours.

  • How about a zero tolerance for crimes involving guns in DC. If a crime involves a gun, or an illegal firearm is present the prosecutor should be required to seek out the highest chargable offense with a minimum of 10 years. Don’t want to do the time? Then don’t pick-up an illegal firearm!

    Broader than just the District, what must happen so that our country wakes up to the rediculousness of gun violence. Gabby Giffords had to resign this week as a result of gun violence – wake up America!

    Glad that a life was spared this time but I don’t think we’ll be this lukcy next time.

    • yeah those guys who just committed armed robbery and attempted murder will definitely stop when they hear about new sentencing guidelines around weapons possession

    • Those things already exist, look up “Project Exile”. They are extremely effective in reducing crime. Washington DC refuses to bring this to bear on its criminals.

  • is it legal to carry pepper spray in DC?

  • Has there been any attempt to start a biking bus? Do these exist? Like kids do walking buses for Safe Routes to School? A list serv or something that announces certain times to meet at certain locations and everyone rides together. 6:30 p.m., when this crime occured, would probably be a popular time. Then a popular saying could be coined like: Gotta run to jump on the Bike Bus on the MBT!

  • I run on this trail, sometimes when it is dark. It might not be the safest but the more people that do, the safer it become. I would never, ever run or bike there with headphones on or on a phone. “I don’t have anything to steal, and I can hear you”. Be out there tonight, it is great trail.

  • I like this trail. I ride it fairly often. This morning I rode by a really cute girl; I would like to make out with her one day.

    Daytime is better. Also, ride or walk with a buddy.

  • Given the isolation of the trail, why can’t MPD put up cameras on the trail? I know these are expensive, but it seems like that would be more effective than these roving patrols of officers.

  • I am a regular commuter on the MBT five days a week trying to save the planet from the excesses of the Car People. I arrived twenty minutes after the latest crime outrage on the trail and spoke to the cops about the victim who was shot and robbed. Then I biked the rest of the way home on the trail. A biker caught up with me and inquired as to what was happening just in back of us. I explained the crime. Then he told me how he was grabbed and thrown off his bike by youths in the ‘hood in a separate incident. For myself, I’ve had rocks and a water bottle squirted at me. Attacking bikers seems to be a lower socioeconomic cultural thing by inner-city youth who seem to have nothing else to do with their time but think too much of themselves and test the tensile strength of glass bottles everywhere. These are pathetic, sociopath attitudes which could be cured with a stout stick applied to their backsides in a most liberal way.
    They’re spoiled rotten by irresponsible parents and a system that’s soft on juveniles.

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