Reader Pistol Whipped Sat. Night at Lanier Place NW and Quarry Place NW

View Larger Map

Dear PoPville,

At around 2 am this morning [Saturday], I was walking home, relatively sober but listening to my headphones, when i was assaulted and pistol whipped by some dude at Lanier Place NW and Quarry Place NW, right above the intersection of Lanier and Harvard. Dude jumped out in front of me, started swinging fists at me, and I started to fight back and he backed up and pulled a small semi-automatic handgun (very small, like a derringer or a 2-shot). As he raised it up to me, I froze, and apparently someone coming up the street had startled him, so he bashed me in the face with it and took off running. It wasn’t apparent to me that he wanted my property at first, nor was he brandishing a gun at first. I ended up getting five stitches to the face. Use caution people. This heat is making people crazy.

Ed. Note: Please never walk home late at night with headphones on or talking on the phone.

54 Comment

  • 2 am this morning [Saturday], I was walking home, relatively sober but listening to my headphones…

    Everything you are not supposed to do – you are lucky you were hurt worse.

    Take a taxi next time and keep the headphones off,

    oh and read POP for good advise often.

  • talula

    Sorry this happened to you, OP. I’m a single girl living in this hood and I find this very scary. I’ve always felt relatively safe here walking home from the bars at night, until I subscribed to the MPDC twitter feed. This area around Harvard/Lanier/Argonne has been mentioned a few times in their postings over the past few days and they’ve all been robberies, some with guns. I wonder if they are related, or maybe I should just unsubscribe from their feed because it’s making me paranoid.

  • That must have been terrifying, and not something I would have expected in this area. Although, I can’t help but wonder how drunk one could be to still be “relatively sober” in Adams Morgan. 🙂

  • I’ve been walking home along that route for a while, and have recently noticed a small group of men drinking beer and sitting on a concrete slab at that intersection. Not saying it was the same man, but the way they always look at me when I walk by makes me extremely uncomfortable.

    Which sucks, because generally I consider my neighborhood pretty safe.

  • Probably not a good idea to be reading while doing these things, either.

  • You must have JUST moved into the city from the burbs. Rule #1….don’t walk alone at night with headphones on. Rule #2….try and walk in well-lit places.

  • this probably could have been avoided if the reader wasnt wearing headphones. the guy probably asked politely for the reader’s property at first, then resorted to other measures when that didnt work

    • Just to play devil’s advocate for a minute here, would someone who’s criminally-inclined to begin with really pass up a potential target for NOT wearing headphones? I would imagine that with the proliferation of smartphones, there are lots of other visual cues–decently-dressed, walking in a higher-income/higher-cost neighborhood, etc.–that could tip a criminal off that a person is 99% likely to have an expensive device in their pocket, headphones or not. (And as for the “distracted” angle, it seems perfectly plausible that one could have their headphones on low volume and not be very distracted at all. Then again, I lived most of my adult life before moving here in New York, where practially everyone walks with headphones, so maybe I’m biased…)

      • I think the answer is yes. On the first point, while there are other indications of valuable property, a guarantee is better than an indication. Headphones are a strong indication/guarantee (I realize it could be an old crappy radio, but that’s not what some potential robber will think).

        On the second, whether the person is or isn’t distracted is only part of the issue. What’s also significant is whether the perp thinks his potential victim is distracted.

        Finally, while this person may be criminally-inclined enough to rob someone, it does not necessarilly mean he himself is fearless, particularly if he is new to such criminal efforts. Someone that seems like an easier target and/or has a strong indication of valuables may be worth a risk. In contrast, the perp may choose not to take to risk with someone obviously aware who sees the possible perp (i.e. possibly also better able to identify the perp, defend and/or run).

  • reply of the day, right here.

  • While I don’t disagree that the OP shouldn’t have been listening to his headphones while walking at 2 a.m., I really don’t think the assailant would’ve been deterred by someone who didn’t have their headphones on. The guy jumped out in front of him, he didn’t bum rush him from behind.

    • For real. This probably still would have happened if the writer was sober and without earphones. Targets are chosen in part on whether the attacker can manage them. Enough with the victim-blaming.

    • Yep. Whether or not OP was carrying an iPod or whatever, his assailant was carrying an easily concealed semi-automatic pistol. That tells me plenty about the kind of person the assailant is and very little about OP … but it still tells me all I need to know. One guy was out looking and prepared for trouble. The OP was just in the wrong place.

  • Look people, as far as that or any neighborhood being safe – this is a CITY. Georgetown is considered “safe,” but it’s not. Where do you go if you want to rob people? To where people will have their guard down and also have material possessions to take. Duh.

  • I’m the guy who sent this in. First, I was walking home from a friends house who lived in adams morgan. I wasn’t drunk but had been drinking earlier (hadn’t had a drink in 2 hours). Second, i’ve lived in DC for 5 years, and I’ve lived in FAR shadier neighborhoods (bloomingdale 5 years ago, southeastern edge of columbia heights 3 years ago, and now mt. pleasant for 2 years). I’ve made that walk a million times, headphones in, drunk as a sailor. I know, I know, all it takes is once, but i’ve NEVER felt threatened, in danger, or even at risk in the area that I was assaulted. Additionally, this guy didn’t ask politely. he ran at me from the side/rear…literally throwing haymakers. Needless to say, when i started swinging back, my headphones fell out, and he was rather impolite about the whole thing.

    • Might be time to move back to Bloomingdale.

      Glad you weren’t hurt.

      • He got five stitches after being pistol whipped – if that isn’t being hurt what is?
        OP I am really sorry for you. Same thing happened to my brother in a similar neighborhood in Seattle. It isn’t fair and I am really sorry you had to deal with this.

    • Very sorry to hear about this.

      Could you please share a description? It would be very useful for those of us who live in the area to know what he looked like — age, height, race, other physical attributes. Thank you in advance.

      • I second the request for a description. Not so helpful to know that the crime occurred.

        And I’m sorry it happened to you.

    • 1st glad you’re okay, despite the stitches. Ignore all these people giving you unneeded, obvious advice that probably would not have applied.

      Since he led with his fists, you gotta assume he was just whacked out. Why would an armed mugger who wanted your property not just show you the gun and say, give me your wallet and phone? That’s simple, convincing, and effective. I’m sure you would have given it up. But, he came out swinging. Well, there was a meth bust right there a few weeks ago.

  • This sounds very bizarre. Not to say it didn’t happen as described, but the person had been admittedly drinking.

    A few things:

    -Don’t drink and stumble home alone
    -Don’t wear headphones late at night (who has headphones coming home after drinking anyway?)
    -Any of the above, especially at 2am

    Also, Derringers and two-shots are not semi-automatics- they don’t have a repeating mechanism. If you aren’t sure what kind of gun, just say “gun”. No need to make up details if you don’t know, as it can hurt the criminal case.

    • He said it was semi-automatic AND small, LIKE a derringer or 2-shot.

      If I said the car was small and gray like an elephant, would you assume that I think elephants are small?

  • Glad you are okay. Sorry to add insult to injury, but people that walk down the street with electronics (or a hint of an electronic such as earphones) are bait for thugs. I am amazed at the number of people that use iPads on Metro or walk down the street with their smartphone in hand. This is a dangerous city we live in. We all should learn from incidents like this and hope that we are not the next victim.

  • Mmmmm…pistol whip.

  • What did the guy look like?

  • I agree with the majority of the comments here. Whenever I see someone walking down the street with headphones in, I go berserk and just start whaling on their head with my handgun. Because everyone knows that people that listen to music in a considerate manner are the true criminals.

  • Get a bike. I feel much safer riding home late on a bike than walking. And as everyone else suggested, don’t wear headphones or talk on the phone. It should be obvious that thieves target people who are distracted.

  • You’re asking for trouble by using headphones ANYTIME of the day, be it getting robbed or hit by a car or bike cuz you can’t hear them.

  • … and I immediately started an email to PoP instead of calling the police!

  • People visibly carrying smartphones are nuts. I never understood it until I realized that smartphone buyers perceive them as being essentially free, because you don’t actually pay much out of pocket for them. You don’t think of it as a $700 phone; you think of it as a no-cost device attached to a service contract.

    What you don’t think about is that an iPhone is worth $300 to $600, cash, on eBay and Craigslist. If you are someone who routinely talks on their iPhone in public, go to Craiglist and search for “iPhone 4s”.

    So, when you are talking on your phone, you are essentially holding a fistful of cash, probably more lucrative than your average home burglary that results in a laptop that’s harder to sell. A fistful of cash that’s easy to carry and run with. It’s basically the perfect thing to steal, and FAR more valuable than what a mugger probably would have gotten out of sticking someone up for their wallet 10 years ago.

    I’m convinced that the perception that iPhones are ‘free’ which stems from the nature of service contracts is at the root of the truly bizarre fact that people continue to wave them around in public in areas with street robbery patterns.

    • “So, when you are talking on your phone, you are essentially holding a fistful of cash………”

      +1!! I totally agree with you. It is crazy how people have let these phones, iPads, IPods, etc., control their lives to the point they ignore common sense and p[ersonal safety. To be one of the cities on the list of “America’s Smartest Cities,” we sure have some stupid people living here.

      • That’s the thing, though – because we generally get smartphones “for free” with service contracts, we don’t think of them as cash equivalents, when they absolutely are.

    • Where do you get an iphone for free? Certainly not the latest model . . . I suppose if you want a 3G, you could get it for free, but you might as well get a rotary telephone.

      • ok, not free, but not full price since the mobile carriers subsidize them. you don’t think of them as being equivalent to $500 cash.

  • Description – Black Male, medium to dark complexion, 6 feet tall, early to mid-20’s, maybe 200 pounds, wearing jeans and a grey and black horizontally stripped short sleeve hoodie. I can’t recall his face (i was too busy swinging back/staring down the barrel of a gun), which means i’ll never be able to positively ID the guy, which means there’s little chance i’ll be able to help out if he IS caught.
    I called the police immediately. Not because i thought there was a chance he’d be caught, but because I wanted the area flooded with cops for the rest of the people walking home later on. I emailed PoP the next morning simply to make people aware that, in what I’VE always considered a safe neighborhood, this nonsense can STILL go down. I’m 6’2” and dress like a slob…generally not a target for attacks. But again, those damn white headphones are a dead giveaway. I was reluctant to tell PoPville about this because I know of the obvious commentary that has accompanied every other incident like this, but, for the good of community awareness, I’ve opened myself up to the obvious “told-ya-so’s”.
    Thanks, PoP, for getting the word out about this. People gotta know when stuff like this goes down.

    • Thanks for sharing this info. Hope you feel better soon, and I hope the thug gets busted the next time he tries something like this.

    • Thanks for sharing.

      1) The guy probably wears this outfit often, and anyone who sees him can report to the police having seen a suspect for a violent attack.

      2) If the police search the guy, they may well find the handgun, most probably resulting in his arrest.

    • Thanks for sharing this info…as someone who lives in the immediate area, I’m glad you did, even if it meant opening yourself up to a few unfortunate comments. (I never get the initial impluse to snark and snipe rather than express empathy, but….if that’s what a handful of blog-dwellers need in order to boost their own egos, what can you do, right?)

  • I’m sure everyone has heard anecdotes like this, but when I lived in New Orleans, they did always say the crime rate was directly proportional to the temperature. 100+ made people testy and violent. Below 60, people were cold and stayed inside. (yes, below 60 was cold for NOLA). (and no, I have no data to back this up with.)

  • Another suggestion, for everyone: scan the sidewalks for shady characters and look out for others, as well as yourselves! If you see crime, report it immediately.

    Criminals assume that we mind our own business and neither watch for nor respond to crimes against strangers. Sadly, their assumption is too often correct.

    If we’re vigilant about the safety of strangers, we multiply eyes and ears; we multiply calls to the police; and we multiply the difficulty for the criminal to escape after the crime. Eventually, we will change the assumptions of the criminals, and make our city safer.

  • Ok I’ve lived in Petworth for about a year. I’m a single woman who tries not to walk around later than 9:30pm any night. I often call people on my non-flashy, non-smartphone. Is this really such a terrible idea? In college at rape prevention trainings people said you should always talk on a phone if walking home at night…. So, me being generally a country mouse, would like your opinions, Washingtonians: To talk on a non-smartphone, or not? Smart? Stupid? Inquiring mind wants to know!

    • I’ll be interested in hearing what others say because on one hand, it sort of makes sense in that if something were to happen, the person at the other end of the line would hear/know and hopefully be able to call 911 on your behalf but you would have to clue them to where you are, etc. You would also have to be super aware of your surroundings. I think when people say don’t talk on the phone they might see it as the person being distracted because sometimes some people put their “all” when having a phone conversation. If you are able to have a conversation while at the same time remaining hyper aware, it could make sense but am curious to hear what others say on this point.

      As for talking on a non-smartphone, probably a good idea, regardless. Some will disagree vehemently but overall I think that time shows us that smartphones make for an appealing target so it makes sense to minimize your target-worthyness.

    • I did this all the time a few years ago when I had a non-fancy, non-smart phone. The walk back from the metro to my previous apartment was a good 15 minutes through a quiet residential area. I would often come home alone Friday/Saturday nights around 2am and talk with my friend on my phone until I got home. I always felt safer doing this, but was before people started getting mugged for their phones. Now I have an iPhone and I would never dream of doing this. iPhones are great but I feel like they make me an obvious and easy target.

  • I don’t understand why people keep blaming the victim here. So what if he was mildly inebriated and was wearing headphones? So what if he had a smart phone?

    Everytime someone blames the victim in this case, it condones the crime. People live in NYC and are able to safely walk while mildly inebriated and talking on the cellphone. Why can’t people live in DC and do the same? People need to stop tolerating this sort of crime and people need to stop blaming the victims.

Comments are closed.