Arrest Made in the Homicide and Bashings in Petworth


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Dear PoPville,

There was another attack of a woman last night on Gallatin that no one seems to be reporting. The suspect was seen in the middle of the act of hitting the woman on the back of the head while the police drove by. The suspect saw the police and took off down Illinois towards Sherman circle and they caught the suspect on Illinois. Could be the same suspect connected to the other brutal attacks. I find it surprising that I can’t find any reports on this latest attack but it happened a block from my house last night and an officer told me what happened. Have you heard anything?

I’m hearing that this is the same guy! MPD has scheduled a press briefing for 10am. I’ll update at that time.

Update 10:06am from MPD Chief Cathy Lanier:

Following a series of assaults in the Petworth neighborhood in the past 72 hours, we deployed several teams of undercover officers to the area. Last night at approximately 9:00 PM, members assigned to our Narcotics and Special Investigations Division, Strike Force was patrolling in the 800 block of Gallatin Street Northwest when they heard someone yelling for help. They observed a female on the ground suffering obvious injury to the head. As they approached the victim they observe a subject a short distance away in the alley, holding a dark colored bag. As the officers made eye contact with the subject, he began running and was pursued by the officers. During the pursuit, the officers observe the subject discard the backpack. The pursuit continued to the 4800 block of Illinois Avenue where the suspect was apprehended.

A claw hammer, believed at this time to be the weapon used in the assault was recovered from the back pack discarded by the suspect.

The suspect has been identified as 19 year old Michael Davis of the 900 block of Emerson Street, NW. At this time he has been charged with one count of aggravated assault.

The victim in this case, who is not being identified, is a 19 year old female. She has suffered a serious head injury and remains hospitalized.

At this time, we are continuing to investigate and process evidence to determine if this case may be linked to the prior three cases that occurred in the Petworth neighborhood over the past 72 hours.

It goes without saying, we are extremely proud of the officers and detectives involved in this apprehension. They have certainly demonstrated their commitment to the safety of our community and the mission of the Metropolitan Police Department.

107 Comment

  • Let’s hope to God they got the perp.
    Thanks to PoP for keeping us informed!!

  • I hope it is the same person. And I hope he gets the maximum sentence. If they can connect him to the attack on the tourist, wouldn’t that be a murder charge? Never know in DC…

    • If this is indeed the guy and he is guilty, I think the maximum sentence would be to let the neighborhood take turns on him with a claw hammer.

  • Great scoop! I hope this is it!!!!

  • Holy moly – that would explain the swarm of police searching the neighborhood last night. I hope they got the guy.

  • Props to the Cops

  • Oh man, fingers crossed they got the guy.

  • News Headlines

    BAM! The Dali Lama of Bloomingdale out POP’s the POP

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Police-To-Give-Update-on-Possibly-Linked-Attacks-149221335.html

  • Caught him before the media had time to give the perp a catchy nickname. Props Cops!

  • There were DOZENS of officers searching around Sherman Circle last night – glad to see they caught someone. Well done, MPD!

  • Any news on the woman he was attacking?

  • Very glad someone is caught. I hope they release info on this person soon so we can all have a better idea if this a random psycho, gang initiation, or some other sort of criminal behavior. If it is a gang initiation, and it involves more than one perp, the entire gang needs to go away, and the ringleaders need to go away forever. DC seems a bit shy about using RICO / conspiracy charges, but this would be a no-brainer. IF a lone wolf actor, then obviously, he needs to go away forever. Some of the scariest crime we’ve seen in the area in the time I’ve lived here, which is saying something.

    • +1. If it is a gang initiation and there are other perps, let’s hope the media doesn’t suggest otherwise. Also, let’s hope MPD is as good about catching the muggers that continue to roam around U Street, CHeights, Dupont, etc.

    • Not that it really matters, but DC doesn’t really have “gang initiations”. I hear that tossed around a lot as a possible motive and i just think it bears noting that we don’t typically have that type of thing here. Neighborhood crews just tend to pop up here and there based on location but there’s not usually any type of “initiation” required. That being said, I’m glad that they may have caught the person who was committing these attacks.

  • serious props to the cops. i really, really hope this is the guy. i hope all of the victims are going to be ok.

  • Thanks for sharing this, I heard tons of police last night and wondered what was up. Let’s hope that it was just this one guy AND that some charges stick!

  • Great job MPD!
    MPD apparently partners with the FBI on gang related investigations. I would love to see all gang activity eradicated from our city. How do we support them? Neighborhood watch? Citizen patrol?
    http://www.fbi.gov/washingtondc/about-us/our-partnerships/partners

  • YEAH!!! Go cops! Huge kudos.

  • Very cool! Props indeed. I saw a scary dude with a claw hammer under his coat getting off the 64 bus at New Hampshire and Farragut, wonder if it’s related.

    • What happened when you called 911 to report this?

      • Well, claw hammers are pretty ubiquitous and not generally considered weapons. I’m not sure what the police would make of such a report.

        • … and this is why crime continues to be so bad in DC.

        • 0_o If you’re wearing a hard hat and performing construction, a claw hammer is not considered a weapon. If you’re at the bus stop hiding a claw hammer in your coat, it is considered a weapon.

    • Please do report this if you haven’t already. Every little piece of evidence could help make the case, and surely the victims and their families would be so grateful.

      • Definitely props to the cops for the quick arrest. I certainly think given the seriousness and randomness of these attacks, not to mention that one resulted in a murder, prompt action was needed.

        However, I can’t help but wonder if MPD used some of these methods (e.g., undercover cops) on a more regular basis that we might all feel a little safer. Are armed muggings not enough for such actions?

        • There are more undercover cops than you may realize. Once you start looking for them, they are easy to see. When I see them around my neighborhood, I know something is afoot…sometimes, I think they are acting on online chatter or tips, and are trying to prevent something from happening.

  • Oh my my, a 19 year old. It seems like just yesteday everybody who assumed it was a teenage youth, was ridiculed and one person somehow even referred to this as border line rasict. Oh wait, that was yesterday,

    I know over 18 yes considered an adult (thankfully in this case) and hopefully this murderer will be held to the fullest, but 19 in my mind is still troubled youth of DC

    • Yep, I seem to remember that as well. People very quick to jump on anyone who speculated that the perp was a “teen” or that the attacks were random, i.e., not somehow brought on by the victims themselves.

  • Well done, MPD. What kind of sick f*ck does this? Not just once, but potentially four times? Truly, seriously sick.

  • WAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Props to the Cops!!!!!!!!!! Take THAT, you thug!

  • This person is obviously a very angry, disturbed young man. When there is an assailant who has no rhyme or reason for his attack except to be a sadistic psychopath, it introduces a new level of powerlessness in the neighborhood. Now, more than ever, we need a sense of community. I am very grateful to the MPD for apprehending the suspect. My prayers go out to the two of my neighbors assaulted and the tourist who were victims of such a senseless crime.

  • ok I’m going to be the asshole that goes out on a limb and says that this fine upstanding young gentleman was, at one point or another, under the supervision of DYRS.

  • Nice work from the MPD. I’m glad to hear that the follow-up has been swift. Any news as to whether these incidents can be linked, yet? I’m not surprised by the quickness of response b/c this was not an single incident and it also involved someone who wasn’t from DC, so there was national interest in this as well.

  • Lets all take a second to thank a DC Police Officer next time you see one. I know they don’t always live up to the standards we set (who does?), but saying a quick thank you will go a long way in continuing to build a positive relationship between the community and the folks who are here to enforce the law and keep the criminals off the streets.

  • MPD was totally on the ball. Great job! Its awesome to know they are out there. Now if only the Judicial system can do its part. I wonder if this kid has been in trouble before?

  • I would like to see a large crowd demonstrating in front of this a-hole’s house on the 900 block of Emerson Street NW. See how he likes having the negative karma brought to his own home/family.

  • Awful. Untreated mental illness, I assume. If you think it’s hard to get streets fixed in this city, imagine trying to predict which wacko is about to crack up and go homicidal.

    I would have thought it was a “Maxwell” rather than a “Michael”, but I’m a classic rock type of fellow.

    • Ugh. My kid demanded to listen to the Beatles in the car this morning, including a repeat of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” Now I can’t stop hearing it… Little did I know how (in)appropriate it was for today!

  • bfinpetworth

    So glad to hear this. My morning walk with the dogs this morning was uneasy to say the least. Prayers for the victims and their families, and a strong hope that this guy gets locked up for a long time and is denied bail – he needs to stay off the streets!

  • So happy. Way to close to home. Wife and I live at 7th and Farragut and have been ridiculously careful the past couple of days.

  • Props to the cops, indeed. That was a quick and aggressive response from MPD. Good strategy, and glad it worked!

    Sounds like the arresting officers were undercover and on foot. I know MPD has a manpower issue, but I wonder if this strategy can be used to crack down on robberies and other crimes in the community.

  • from the NBC Washington website –

    “Dederichs, the man who was killed, was a nurse from Denver. He had been visiting D.C. for about two weeks, and was renting a basement apartment in a house on Illinois Avenue NW.

    The entrance to that apartment is in the alley where his body was found.”

    Seriously? Renting an apartment with an alley entrance to tourists? That seems irresponsible to me…just putting people in a bad situation. You wouldn’t be able to rent an apartment like that. Putting it up on airbnb to people that don’t know DC at all I think is just taking advantage of people. Could the homeowner get in trouble because of this?

    • What, exactly, would a homeowner be getting in trouble for? Sub-letting their apartment on the free market?

      • I don’t know, but this would not be a legal apartment to rent out without front and back entrances. But I guess Airbnb probably doesn’t have any rules. I know some apartments/condos will not let you have short term rentals, have no idea if their are rules for single family homes. I think it would be hard for the homeowners to rent out a basement apartment long-term around here with only an alley entrance, to anyone that knows anything about DC. So maybe it just seems distasteful to me to offer that to tourists. I looked on Airbnb to see if the rental house at 8th & Emerson is still listed, but it’s not. There’s another one though on 4th Street though that features “private entrance via lane way courtyard” aka another alley entrance. Ugh.

        • For the record – you can have legal basement rentals without a front and back door – windows count as means of egress so a back door and windows is sufficient.

          Huge thanks to MPD’s quick response on this.

          • An appropriately-sized window counts. Almost always the window is undersized unless you specifically bought one that would count as means of egress. 6 sq ft surface area comes to mind, but i’m not positive.

    • Yes, it was the tourist’s fault, or maybe the landlord’s for renting an apartment accessed from an alley. Or DC health services, for not giving this poor child the mental health care he needed to keep him from crushing skulls with a hammer. Or the DC Public Schools for failing him. Or our racist society. Or capitalism.

      Or maybe it’s the fault of the mean wackjob wielding the hammer.

    • Blame the landlord? That is the craziest thing I have ever heard!!! What about the other 3 victims….who do you want to blame for them? The only one to blame is the guy that did these crimes. Of course, his family will probably be on tv tomorrow saying how much he loves Jesus and was set up by the cops.

      • I’m sure some people are already blaming it on George Bush.

      • Did I say anything about blaming the landlord. I happen to be a landlord, too and live in Petworth. I just thought, wow that’s weird. I would never think to rent out an apt in Petworth with only an alley entrance. I would also never rent an aparment with an alley entrance. Maybe that’s because I’m a woman and and safety conscious. I do lots of stuff to protect myself from danger, like not walking alone late at night. That doesn’t mean if something ever happened to me I would think an attack was my fault. My thought was that a tourist wouldn’t have enough info to judge whether that’s a safe situation or not. And when the landlord calls it something other than an alley entrance, to make it sound nicer than it is, they’re not being very honest.

        • I live in Petworth in a basement apartment with an alley entrance. When I first moved in I was able to use the front door but, now the new tenants in the regular house have decided to not allow it. I hate it just because of the safety issue.

          • I’d say you have a pretty good example now of why you want to be able to use the front door. Good luck!

  • Aggravated assualt? um no. You are bashing someones head with a claw hammer..thats attempted murder. Holy crap, this ahole better get YEARS and YEARS in prison. and yeah, I would bet my house that this guy either way or is currently in they system of DYFS or parole or probation before he was roaming the street. I don’t get the mental illness angle people seem to think is at play here. He is targeting people alone with a weapon chosen to inflict maximum injury. Some reasoning was used.

    • “There are two ways for the prosecution to prove aggravated assault. The first way is for the prosecution to prove that the person (1) knowingly or purposely (2) caused serious bodily injury to another person. Alternatively, the prosecution can show that the person (1) under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life (2) intentionally or knowingly (3) engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of serious bodily injury to another and (4) through this conduct actually caused serious bodily injury.

      ‘Serious bodily injury’ is defined as ‘bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted or obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.’

      Aggravated assault is a felony offense. The penalty is a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years. D.C. Criminal Code 22-404.01.”

      10 years seems a bit light considering if he hit her a little harder or in a different spot she could have easily been killed.

    • Ability to reason doesn’t necessarily rule out mental illness. Charles Manson orchestrated a vicious attack and convinced others to join in, but i think it would be safe to say that he suffers from mental illness. Attacking someone by hitting them in the back of the head isn’t typical “thug” behavior. Most “thugs” in DC are cowards… preferring to snatch a purse and run or shoot someone from a distance. Random acts of violence are also atypical of the “thugs” in DC. Most of the crimes they commit are robberies, and when there is an assault it tends to be connected with that. Someone that is walking around just hitting people in the head for no reason seems more like someone who just snapped and lost it as opposed to someone who wants to take an iphone from a drunk guy walking alone at night.

  • Also, PoP, if you know about any fundraising efforts for any of the victims please keep us posted. Head/brain injuries often require years of therapy for even a partial recovery. We have no idea at this point if this 19 year girl will fully recover or not or ever be able to work full time again.

    • I agree. Did any of you catch the story about the Norwegians? In response to the bomber, they are standing together to support all of the things he was attacking. I’d like to see the perp destroyed, but let’s show that we are better than him by standing up as neighbors and supporting one another regardless of race and income.

    • Yes, please let us know!

  • I also don’t get the “mental illness” talk. If that is your assumption let me welcome you to Washington, because you are new in town.

  • Great news. Hopefully they got the perp committing all of these random attacks. Now that the perp might be off the streets we can focus on the victims.

    • +1 PoP community, please let us know of anything we can do to support our neighbors who were the victims of this senseless violence and, at best, face dealing with the physical and emotional fallout of being the victim of such barbaric acts for many years.

    • So, does the younger brother of two NFL players attacking citizens without motive come off as “strange” enough to justify the initial feeling – that bothered you so much – of these incidents seeming “strange”? Or are we just in denial about the commonality of overnight-news-blitz-causing random attacks from siblings of superstars in Petworth?

  • I am seriously sick to my stomach. I hope this fuc*er is the one (only one) involved. I hope he is ripped from limb to limb in prison and dead soon.

    That said, I am still VERY glad about the dramatic decreases our city is experiencing in murder.

    RIP to the deceased victim, and hopes for a speedy recovery for those victims still alive.

  • Wow, brother of 2 NFL players. Was this his incredibly misguided plea for attention?

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Police-To-Give-Update-on-Possibly-Linked-Attacks-149221335.html

  • Why is there only 1/3 the number of comments here as on the ridiculous Heller’s moldy cake story? Sigh.

    Nice work MPD. Sounds like this could have been a whole lot worse, hope it’s the right guy.

  • Wow, WaPo reporting that it’s Vontae and Vernon Davis’s brother.

  • This is good news to hear and I hope this individual captured is the one that committed all 3 crimes. I’ve been nervous the last 72 hours. However, I will not let my guards down, day or night in the District. I am aware of my surroundings at all times, even inside my apartment. LOL

  • Lots of camera crews and police were in front of 920 Emerson St. around noon today. That’s the house he lived in, apparently.

  • I am thankful that he was caught and hope that he can be linked to the other crimes if he was the perpetrator of them all. Hopefully DC will put him away for a LONG time and we will not having him walking around and back in the block in 2 years tops. I was never afraid of black men until I moved to DC and it saddens me to admit it but I wonder if other women feel the same way.

    • Seriously? Let’s not devolve into *this*. If you’re afraid of black men, please just move out…

    • If you are afraid of black men, please move. This comment really gets under my skin for some reason.

    • Hell yes, other women absolutely feel this way.

    • Anonymous, you shouldn’t be afraid of black men. We are not all hoodlums and criminals. As a black man, I was offended by your comment generalizing all black men. Have a great weekend!

    • Dude, let the guy be afraid of whomever he wants. Its rational. If I am afraid of sumo wrestlers because of a past experience do I make you all sick too and should I move?

  • This happened a block from my house – saw the cops congregated there when I drove home and hoped that they had gotten the guy that did this. What kind of sick jerk does this for no good reason. What kind of savages live in this neighborhood? I am glad the cops are all over it that’s all I can say.

  • So it turns out that he is not a part of a gang. And this wasn’t a gang initiation. Unless this gang is the NFL. His brothers are Vernon and Vonte Davis (49ers and Dolphins). http://wpgc.radio.com/2012/04/27/teen-arrested-in-petworth-attacks-brother-of-vernon-vontae-davis/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    • What good is a post about a crime if it’s not accompanied by wild speculation that turns out to be completely untrue when the actual facts are revealed?

      • What evidence has been that he’s not in a gang?

        Ashley’s post is just as full of speculation. What she basically said — “He can’t be in a gang because he has two famous brothers.”

        Let’s wait and see what the police have to say after he’s had a chance to talk.

      • What evidence has been released that he’s not in a gang?

        Ashley’s post is just as full of speculation. What she basically said — “He can’t be in a gang because he has two famous brothers.”

        Let’s wait and see what the police have to say after he’s had a chance to talk.

  • I am sure we will learn a lot more over the next 24 hours. Given the prominence of the family involved, if this individual was either (a) severely mentally ill (as I would guess) or (b) had a history of sociopathic / violent behavior (I’d be stunned if neither (a) not (b) applied), neighborhood people must have known or talked about it. Just a crazy, horrible story that seems to defy any attempt at our usual overbroad and instinctive characterization: no particular targets in terms of age, race, or gender, not a perpetrator from a family without any resources, etc. etc. Just seems like something very unique-to-this-individual, and very outside the scope of any type of easily relatable narrative, must have been going on here.

  • My co-worker’s son lives on the block, knows the guy and went to school with him. Not in a gang, not mentally handicapped, but a loner who would just walk around all the time, hanging by himself, the type you would avoid even if you did go to school with him – the type guy you see just walk out into Georgia Avenue without looking first for cars.

  • I’ve been thinking, whomever committed these crimes must be mental ill. Mental illness is a serious illness and too many people are walking the streets not getting the help they seriously need. However, the D.C. Government closed and privatized the D.C. Department of Mental Health 2 years ago and reduced their budgets. Other municipalities and States have either closed their mental health facilities or privatized them. I am not making an excuse for the suspect because some people are down right mean. If he’s mental ill, he should get the mental health he needs. I feel so sadden about the tourist death visiting our city on vacation and to lose his life in such a manner. My condolences to all the victims.

    Native Washingtonian
    Ward 4

    • It is ridiculous that everyone is assuming this is a result of mental illness.
      The kid sounds like an angry teenager with nothing better to do. There are hundreds of crimes committed on a daily basis that are not the result of mental illness. What makes this any different? I understand we all wants answers and most importantly want to know why this idiot would commit such a horrible acts of violence. But more importantly, it is wrong to blame this on mental illness. This appears to be more of a problem of anger than anything.

    • Yes, DMH has been downsized, but now a ton of non profit mental health providers have contracts with the city to provide services. There is a strong provider base in the city. Is the demand strong? Yes, but it is generally well serviced, especially given the difficulties in serving certain people.

      They dissolved DMH due to widespread theft, plus you can pay the non profits less/no pensions etc.

  • Was this a racially motivated crime spree?

    • have you taken the time to consider the race/gender of the victims ?? I would argue no. first we need to establish that the young man did commit all of the acts. seems like he did, but that hasn’t yet been established. based on what is out there, it seems not to be racially motivated as there are white and black victims.

  • I believe Vernon and Vontae Davis, both professional football players were raised in the 900 block of Emerson.

  • Can any body in mpd please tell me and the people who live in the 4800 block of Georgia ave what is going on at Rass and the fucking skate board shop ,these 2 spot is fucking this place what skate shop open until 2:am loud music and the whole side walk is block where is the police when you need them I hope there are not at some restaurant salad thai playing music Rass brought lot of negatives in this where is the anc
    / council women we need peace ,we need sleep
    at 2am,we need help Rass must go or close at 12am.

  • What happened to the shooting front of Rass last week no one is talkin about that,I am very very worried about our block been taking over I need to know what is the hours of operations at the skate board shop it can’t be with loud music blairing 2am any body have ideas please posts the pizza place next door is feeling the grind of Rass and the skate board place I hpoe abc can raid this place soom

  • Mental what ,well when he saw the cops why run you know it’s wrong so you are in good sence when you saw the cops.what a joke if found guilty jailed him and toss the key then he will come to sence quickly

  • Please know that this kid has been screaming for help since middle school; however, the family was turned away from serious treatment by our wonderful system and now look. Why does this happen? Now, he has gone to far and who do we blame, the system? the family? the community? or the person that was once a kid who is now 19? Prayer!

  • Mental Health is as serious as Physical Health and the sooner we realize that the better off we will all be. This 19-year-old was once a baby with a blank slate. Who do we blame? Let’s all start with the man in the mirror.

    • As a parent of 2 I can assure no baby is a “blank slate”. And a variety of mental illnesses tend to be hereditary and run in families. Just sayin’.

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